Japhet, in Search of a Father eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 432 pages of information about Japhet, in Search of a Father.

“Never, upon my honour; my mind was always full of courage.  In my mind’s eye I built castles of feats of bravery, which should eclipse all the Talbots, from him who burnt Joan of Arc, down to the present day.  I assure you, that surprised as other people were, no one was more surprised than myself.  Our regiment was ordered to advance, and I led on my company, the bullets flew like hail.  I tried to go on, but I could not; at last, notwithstanding all my endeavours to the contrary, I fairly took to my heels.  I was met by the commanding officer—­in fact, I ran right against him.  He ordered me back, and I returned to my regiment, not feeling at all afraid.  Again I was in the fire, again I resisted the impulse, but it was of no use, and at last, just before the assault took place, I ran away as if the devil was after me.  Wasn’t it odd?”

“Very odd, indeed,” replied I, laughing.

“Yes, but you do not exactly understand why it was odd.  You know what philosophers tell you about volition; and that the body is governed by the mind, consequently obeys it; now, you see, in my case, it was exactly reversed.  I tell you, that it is a fact, that in mind I am as brave as any man in existence; but I had a cowardly carcass, and what is still worse, it proved the master of my mind, and ran away with it.  I had no mind to run away; on the contrary, I wished to have been of the forlorn hope, and had volunteered, but was refused.  Surely, if I had not courage I should have avoided such a post of danger.  Is it not so?”

“It certainly appears strange, that you should volunteer for the forlorn hope, and then run away.”

“That’s just what I say.  I have the soul of the Talbots, but a body which don’t belong to the family, and too powerful for the soul.”

“So it appears.  Well, go on.”

“It was go off, instead of going on.  I tried again that day to mount the breach, and as the fire was over, I succeeded; but there was a mark against me, and it was intimated that I should have an opportunity of redeeming my character.”

“Well?”

“There was a fort to be stormed the next day, and I requested to lead my company in advance.  Surely that was no proof of want of courage?  Permission was granted.  We were warmly received, and I felt that my legs refused to advance; so what did I do—­I tied my sash round my thigh, and telling the men that I was wounded, requested they would carry me to the attack.  Surely that was courage?”

“Most undoubtedly so.  It was like a Talbot.”

“We were at the foot of the breach; when the shot flew about me, I kicked and wrestled so, that the two men who carried me were obliged to let me go, and my rascally body was at liberty.  I say unfortunately, for only conceive, if they had carried me wounded up the breach, what an heroic act it would have been considered on my part; but fate decided it otherwise.  If I had lain still when they dropped

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Japhet, in Search of a Father from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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