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Whether Susannah, by taking her hand too suddenly from off the corporal’s shoulder (by the whisking about of her passions)⁠⸺⁠broke a little the chain of his reflections⁠⸺⁠

Or whether the corporal began to be suspicious, he had got into the doctor’s quarters, and was talking more like the chaplain than himself⁠⸻

Or whether- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Or whether⁠⸺⁠for in all such cases a man of invention and parts may with pleasure fill a couple of pages with suppositions⁠⸺⁠which of all these was the cause, let the curious physiologist, or the curious anybody determine⁠⸺’tis certain, at least, the corporal went on thus with his harangue.

For my own part, I declare it, that out of doors, I value not death at all:⁠—not this⁠ ⁠… added the corporal, snapping his fingers,⁠—but with an air which no one but the corporal could have given to the sentiment.⁠—In battle, I value death not this⁠ ⁠… and let him not take me cowardly, like poor Joe Gibbins, in scouring his gun⁠—What is he? A pull of a trigger⁠—a push of a bayonet an inch this way or that⁠—makes the difference.⁠—Look along the line⁠—to the right⁠—see! Jack’s down! well,⁠—’tis worth a regiment of horse to him.⁠—No⁠—’tis Dick. Then Jack’s no worse.⁠—Never mind which,⁠—we pass on,⁠—in hot pursuit the wound itself which brings him is not felt,⁠—the best way is to stand up to him,⁠—the man who flies, is in ten times more danger than the man who marches up into his jaws.⁠—I’ve look’d him, added the corporal, an hundred times in the face,⁠—and know what he is.⁠—He’s nothing, Obadiah, at all in the field.⁠—But he’s very frightful in a house, quoth Obadiah.⁠⸺⁠I never mind it myself, said Jonathan, upon a coach-box.⁠—It must, in my opinion, be most natural in bed, replied Susannah.⁠—And could I escape him by creeping into the worst calf’s skin that ever was made into a knapsack, I would do it there⁠—said Trim⁠—but that is nature.

⸺⁠Nature is nature, said Jonathan.⁠—And that is the reason, cried Susannah, I so much pity my mistress.⁠—She will never get the better of it.⁠—Now I pity the captain the most of anyone in the family, answered Trim.⁠⸺⁠Madam will get ease of heart in weeping,⁠—and the Squire in talking about it,⁠—but my poor master will keep it all in silence to himself,⁠—I shall hear him sigh in his bed for a whole month together, as he did for lieutenant Le Fever.⁠—An’ please your honour, do not sigh so piteously, I would say to him as I laid besides him. I cannot help it, Trim, my master would say,⁠⸺’tis so melancholy an accident⁠—I cannot get it off my heart.⁠—Your honour fears not death yourself.⁠—I hope, Trim, I fear nothing, he would say, but the doing a wrong thing.⁠⸺⁠Well, he would add, whatever betides, I will take care of Le Fever’s boy.⁠—And with that, like a quieting draught, his honour would fall asleep.

I like to hear Trim’s stories about the captain, said Susannah.⁠—He is a kindly-hearted gentleman, said Obadiah, as ever lived.⁠—Aye, and as brave a one too, said the corporal, as ever stepped before a platoon.⁠—There never was a better officer in the king’s army,⁠—or a better man in God’s world; for he would march up to the mouth of a cannon, though he saw the lighted match at the very touch-hole,⁠—and yet, for all that, he has a heart as soft as a child for other people.⁠⸺⁠He would not hurt a chicken.⁠⸺⁠I would sooner, quoth Jonathan, drive such a gentleman for seven pounds a year⁠—than some for eight.⁠—Thank thee, Jonathan! for thy twenty shillings,⁠—as much, Jonathan, said the corporal, shaking him by the hand, as if thou hadst put the money into my own pocket.⁠⸺⁠I would serve him to the day of my death out of love. He is a friend and a brother to me,⁠—and could I be sure my poor brother Tom was dead,⁠—continued the corporal, taking out his handkerchief,⁠—was I worth ten thousand pounds, I would leave every shilling of it to the captain.⁠⸺⁠Trim could not refrain from tears at this testamentary proof he gave of his affection to his master.⁠⸺⁠The whole kitchen was affected.⁠—Do tell us the story of the poor lieutenant, said Susannah.⁠⸺⁠With all my heart, answered the corporal.

Susannah, the cook, Jonathan, Obadiah, and corporal Trim, formed a circle about the fire; and as soon as the scullion had shut the kitchen door,⁠—the corporal begun.