« PredošláPokračovať »
know the future fate of the pedlar, Katy withdrew to make certain preparations for the approaching funeral, which was to take place that day.
During the interview between the maidens, Lawton, through delicacy, had withdrawn. Anxiety took him to the room of Captain Singleton. The character of this youth, it has already been shown, endeared him in a peculiar manner to every officer in the corps.
The singularly mild deportment of the young dragoon had, on so many occasions, been proved not to proceed from want of manly resolution, that his almost feminine softness of manner and appearance had failed to bring him into disrepute even among a band of partizan warriors.
To the major he was as dear as a brother, and his easy submission to the directions of his surgeon had made him a marked favourite with Dr. Sitgreaves. The rough usage this corps often received in their daring attacks, had brought each of its officers in succession under the temporary keeping of its surgeon. To Captain
Singleton the man of science had decreed the palm on such occasions, and Captain Lawton he had fairly black-balled. He frequently declared, with unconquerable simplicity and earnestness of manner, to his assembled comrades, that it gave him more pleasure to see the former brought in wounded, than any officer in the squadron, and that the latter afforded him the least -a compliment and condemnation that was received by the first of the parties with a quiet smile of good nature, and by the last, with a grave bow of thanks. On the present occasion, the mortified surgeon and exulting trooper met in the room of Captain Singleton, as a place where they could act on common ground. Some time was occupied in joint attentions to the comfort of the wounded officer, and the doctor retired to an apartment prepared for his own accommodation ; here, within a few minutes, he was surprised by the entrance of Lawton. The triumph of the trooper had been so complete, that he felt he could afford to be generous, and com
mencing by voluntarily throwing aside his coat, the captain cried, carelessly
“Come, Sitgreaves, administer a little of the aid of the lights of science to n.y body, if you please.”
The surgeon was beginning to feel this was a subject that was intolerable; but, venturing his first glance towards his comrade, he saw with surprise the preparations he had made, and an air of sincerity about him that was unusual to his manner when making such a request. Changing his intended burst of resentment to a tone of civil inquiry, he said
“ Does Captain Lawton want any thing at my hands?
" “ Look for yourself, my dear Sit.," said the trooper, mildly ; 66 here seem to be most of the colours of the rainbow on this shoulder of mine."
" Indeed you have reason for saying so, said the other, handling the part with great tenderness and consummate skill; “ but happily nothing is broken. It is wonderful how well you escaped.”
“Oh! I have been a tumbler from my youth, and I am past minding a few falls from a horse ; but, Sitgreaves,” he added, with affection, and pointing to a scar on his body,
“ do you remember this bit of work?
“Perfectly well, Jack,” replied the doctor, with a smile, “it was bravely obtained, and neatly extracted; but don't you think I had better apply an oil to these bruises ?”
“ Certainly,” said Lawton, with unexpected condescension.
Now, my dear boy, cried the doctor, exultingly, as he busied himself in applying the remedy to the hurts, “ do you not think it would have been better to have done all this last night?”
Quite probably," returned the other, complacently.
« Yes, Jack, but if you had let me perform the operation of phlebotomy when I first saw you, it would have been of infinite service."
“No phlebotomy," said the other, positively.
“It is now too late," replied the dejected surgeon ; “but a dose of oil would carry off the humours famously.”
To this the Captain made no reply, but gritted his teeth in a way that showed the fortress of his mouth was not to be assailed without a resolute resistance, and the experienced physician changed the subject, by saying
“It is a pity, John, that you did not catch the rascal, after the danger and trouble you incurred ?"
The captain of dragoons made no reply; and, while placing some bandages on the wounded shoulder, the surgeon continued
“If I have any wish at all to destroy human life, it is to have the pleasure of seeing that traitor hung."
“ I thought your business was to cure, and not to slay,” said the trooper, dryly.
Aye! but he has caused us such heavy