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St. Senanus and the Lady.
Itself a little sky,
“We may roam through this World.”
That Love is frost-bit, or in clothing half hidden;
Who, less wayward, obeys to whatever he's bidden,
They seek to hold him by blessings and ties ; *
Then forget not, &c.
THE SOLDIER'S ORPHAN. Amongst soldiers-men whose habits of life are almost in direct opposition to social and domestic enjoymentwho are strangers everywhere, and whose profession it is to destroy their fellow-men, it is astonishing what tenderness and amiability of disposition are frequently to be met with. One circumstance, which fell under my own observation, I will relate; and I think it affords undoubted proof of the kindest and most amiable heart.
At the battle of Talavera, a soldier, who had his wife, and a child about two years and a half old, at the regiment with him, was killed. His death weighed heavily on the heart of the woman, and, together with a severe cold caught in marching, produced a fever which terminated in her death. Her infant, thus left fatherless and
* The marriage ceremony.
motherless, became an interesting object of pity. The officers of the regiment took measures for its protection, and placed the boy under the care of a woman belonging to their own regiment. This woman, however, was a drunkard, and the comrade of the deceased father perceived that she neglected the child. He reported this to the officers, and they determined to remove it; but on examination it was found that there was no other woman in the regiment who had claims to be trusted more than the person with whom the child already was. Indeed, there are but few women permitted to take the field with the soldiers; and these, in general, are not only intemperate, but blunted in their feelings by their own privations.
The comrade, finding much difficulty in providing a nurse for the child, declared that he would sooner undertake the care of him himself, until an opportunity of better disposing of him should occur, as he felt convinced that the poor infant would be lost if suffered to remain with the woman under whose care he then was.
There was no objection made to this; so the soldier immediately took charge of the child. And well he acquitted himself in his responsibility: he regularly washed, dressed, and fed the little fellow every morning; he would clamber over the hills and procure goats' milk for him, when even the officers could not obtain that luxury; and, although not much of a cook, would boil his rationmeat into a nutritive jelly, as scientifically as the best of them, for the child. In less than two months, the little campaigner was very different in appearance from that which he exhibited when first taken in charge by the soldier; and he became a rosy-faced, chubby, hardy little hero, as ever bivouacked on the hills of Portugal.
Month after month passed away, during which the regiment often moved about. Upon the march, the soldier always found means of procuring a seat for the child upon one of the baggage mules; and he now became so inter
esting to all who knew him, that little difficulty in obtaining transport for him was to be met with. One time a muleteer would take the boy before him on his macho, or place him between two sacks or casks upon the animals back, and gibber Spanish to him as he jogged along; at other times he would find a seat on some officers' bag. gage, or “ get a lift” in the arms of the men; nobody would refuse little Johnny accommodation whenever he needed it. So far I heard from a soldier of the division in which the child was protected. What follows I witnessed myself.
After the battle of Busaco, which was fought in the year following that of Talavera, the army retreated over at least one hundred and fifty miles of a country the most difficult to pass; steep after steep was climbed by division after division, until the whole arrived within the lines of the Torres Vedras. The whole of this march, from the mountains of Busaco to the lines, was a scene of destruction and misery, not to the army, but to the unhappy population. Every pound of corn was destroyed, the wine-casks were staved, and the forage was burnt; the people in crowds trudging on before the army, to shelter themselves from the French, into whose hands, had they remained in their houses, they must have fallen. Infants barely able to walk; bed-ridden old people; the sick and the dying—all endeavouring to make their way into Lisbon; for which purpose, all the asses and mules that they could find were taken with them, and the poor animals became as lame as their riders by a very few days' marches. It was a severe measure of Lord Wellington's thus to devastate the country which he left behind him, but, like the burning of Moscow, it was masterly; for Massena, being thus deprived of the means of supplying his army, was soon obliged to retrace his steps to Spain, pursued in his turn by the British, and leaving the roads covered with his starving people and slaughtered horses.
Amidst this desolation I first saw the little hero of whom I write. I had been with the rear-guard of the division, and was approaching Alhandra, when I observed four or five men standing on a ridge in the valley through which we were passing. One of them ran towards me, and said that there was a man lying under a tree a little way off the road, beside a stream, and that he was dying. A staffsurgeon was close by; I told him the circumstance, and we immediately proceeded to the spot. There we beheld a soldier lying upon his back, his head resting against a bank, his cap beside him, and filled with water, as if he had been drinking out of it. Beside the man sat a fine boy, of about three years' old, his little arms stretched across him. The child looked wistfully at us. We asked him what he was doing there? but from fright and perhaps confusion at seeing us all intent upon questioning him, he only burst into tears. The surgeon examined the man, and found he was lifeless, but still warm. I asked the child if the man was his father ? he said he was; but to any farther questions he could only lisp an unintelligible answer. The surgeon thought the man had died of fatigue, probably from marching while under great debility or sickness. I asked the boy if he had walked with his father that day? and he replied that he did not, but had been carried by him.
At this moment the last of the division was passing up the hill, and the French columns appeared about half a mile behind. There was nothing to be done but to remove the child, and leave the dead man as he was. I directed the soldiers to do so, and to bring him along with them. They accordingly went over to the boy, to take him away from the body; but he cried out, while tears rolled from his eyes, “ No, no! me stay wi’ daddy!-me stay wi' daddy!” and clung his little arms about the dead soldier with a determined grasp. The men looked at each other: we were all affected in the same way: I could see the tears in the hardy fellows' eyes. They
caressed him; they promised that his father should go also; but no, the little affectionate creature could not be persuaded to quit his hold. Force was necessary,—the men drew him away from the body,—but the child's cries were heart-rending : “ Daddy! daddy! daddy! dear, dear daddy!” Thus he called and cried, while the men, endeavouring to soothe him, bore him up the hill just as the enemy were entering the valley. This was little Johnny, and the dead man was his father's kind, goodhearted comrade, who perhaps hastened his own death by carrying the beloved little orphan.
LINES, By the late Mr. ALFRED Porntz SANDERSON, of Pem
broke College, Oxford.
ERE yet the hand of death lies cold upon me,
And I, alas!
I had hoped
0! may some sweet village maiden
And the soft village bells,