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The quality of mercy is not strain'd;
And earthly power doth then show likest God's,
There was a Newfoundland dog on board the Bellona, last war, who kept the deck during the battle of Copenhagen, running backwards and forwards with so brave an anger, that he became a greater favourite with the men than ever. the ship was paid off, after the peace of Amiens, the sailors had a parting dinner on shore. Victor was placed in the chair, and fed with roast-beef and plum-pudding, and the bill was made out in Victor's name. He was so called after his original master, who was no less a personage than Victor Hugo.-Southey's Omniana, vol. i. p. 294.
BEFORE THE BATTLE.
And there was another of our acquaintances who was also to be left behind, a non-combatant, and whose emotions and behaviour we have therefore a right to know. This was our friend the excollector of Boggleywollah, whose rest was broken, like other people's, by the sounding of the bugles in the early morning. Being a great sleeper, and fond of his bed, it is possible he would have snoozed on until his usual hour of rising in the forenoon, in spite of all the drums, bugles, and bagpipes in the British army, but for an interruption, which did not come from George Osborne, who shared Jos's quarters with him, and was as usual occupied too much with his own affairs, or with grief at parting with his wife, to think of taking leave of his slumbering brother-in-law-it was not George, we say, who interposed between Jos Sedley and sleep, but Captain Dobbin, who came and roused him up, insisting on shaking hands with him before his departure.
Very kind of you," said Jos, yawning, and wishing the Captain at the deuce.
“I—I didn't like to go off without saying goodbye, you know," Dobbin said in a very incoherent manner; "because you know some of us mayn't come back again, and I like to see you all well and -and that sort of thing, you know."
"What do you mean?" Jos asked, rubbing his eyes. The Captain did not in the least hear him or look at the stout gentleman in the night-cap, about whom he professed to have such a tender interest. The hypocrite was looking and listening with all his might in the direction of George's apartments, striding about the room, upsetting the
chairs, beating the tattoo, biting his nails, and showing other signs of great inward emotion.
Jos had always had rather a mean opinion of the Captain, and now began to think his courage was somewhat equivocal. "What is it I can do for you, Dobbin?" he said in a sarcastic tone.
"I tell you what you can do," the Captain replied, coming up to the bed; we march in a quarter of an hour, Sedley, and neither George nor I may ever come back. Mind you, you are not to stir from this town until you ascertain how things go. You are to stay here and watch over your sister, and comfort her, and see that no harm comes to her. If anything happens to George, remember she has no one but you in the world to look to. If it goes wrong with the army, you'll see her safe back to England; and you will promise me on your word that you will never desert her. I know you won't as far as money goes you were always free enough with that. Do you want any? I mean, have you enough gold to take you back to England in case of a misfortune?"
Sir," said Jos, majestically, "when I want money, I know where to ask for it. And as for my sister, you needn't tell me how I ought to behave to her."
"You speak like a man of spirit, Jos," the other answered goodnaturedly, "and I am glad that George can leave her in such good hands. So I may give him your word of honour, may I, that in case of extremity you will stand by her?"
"Of course, of course," answered Mr. Jos, whose generosity in money matters Dobbin estimated quite correctly.
66 And you'll see her safe out of Brussels in the event of a defeat ?"
"A defeat! D- it, Sir, it's impossible. Don't try and frighten me," the hero cried from his bed;
and Dobbin's mind was thus perfectly set at ease now that Jos had spoken out so resolutely respecting his conduct to his sister. "At least," thought the Captain," there will be a retreat secured for her in case the worst should ensue."
If Captain Dobbin expected to get any personal comfort and satisfaction from having one more view of Amelia before the regiment marched away, his selfishness was punished just as such odious egotism deserved to be. The door of Jos's bed-room opened into the sitting-room which was common to the family party, and opposite this door was that of Amelia's chamber. The bugles had wakened everybody there was no use in concealment now. George's servant was packing in this room: Osborne coming in and out of the contiguous bed-room, flinging to the man such articles as he thought fit to carry on the campaign. And presently Dobbin had the opportunity which his heart coveted, and he got sight of Amelia's face once more. But what a face it was! So white, so wild and despairstricken, that the remembrance of it haunted him afterwards like a crime, and the sight smote him with inexpressible pangs of longing and pity.
She was wrapped in a white morning dress, her hair falling on her shoulders, and her large eyes fixed and without light. By way of helping on the preparations for the departure, and showing that she too could be useful at a moment so critical, this poor soul had taken up a sash of George's from the drawers whereon it lay, and followed him to and fro with the sash in her hand, looking on mutely as his packing proceeded. She came out and stood, leaning at the wall, holding this sash against her bosom, from which the heavy net of crimson dropped like a large stain of blood. Our gentle-hearted Captain felt a guilty shock as he looked at her. "Good God," thought he, "and is
it grief like this I dared to pry into?" And there was no help: no means to soothe and comfort this helpless, speechless misery. He stood for a moment and looked at her, powerless and torn with pity, as a parent regards an infant in pain.
At last, George took Emmy's hand, and led her back into the bed-room, from whence he came out alone. The parting had taken place in that_moment, and he was gone.-Thackeray's Vanity Fair.
Is a common nuisance, and as great a grievance to those that come near him, as a pewterer is to his neighbours. His discourse is like the braying of a mortar, the more impertinent, the more voluble and loud, as a pestle makes more noise when it is rung on the sides of a mortar, than when it stamps downright, and hits upon the business. A dog that opens upon a wrong scent will do it oftener than one that never opens but upon a right. He is as long-winded as a ventiduct, that fills as fast as it empties; or a trade-wind, that blows one way for half a year together, and another as long, as if it drew in its breath for six months, and blew it out again for six more. He has no mercy on any man's ears or patience that he can get within his sphere of activity, but tortures him, as they correct boys in Scotland, by stretching their lugs without remorse. He is like an ear-wig, when he gets within a man's ear, he is not easily to to be got out again. He is a siren to himself, and has no way to escape shipwreck but by having his mouth stopped instead of his ears. He plays with his tongue as a cat does with her tail, and is transported with the delight he gives himself of his own making.-Samuel Butler.