“They were not philosophers, Talbot.”
“No; they could not comprehend how the mind and the body could be at variance. It was no use arguing—they would have it that the movements of the body depended upon the mind, and that I had made a mistake—and that I was a coward in soul as well as body.”
“Well, what did you do?”
“Oh, I did nothing! I had a great mind to knock them down, but as I knew my body would not assist me, I thought it better to leave it alone. However, they taunted me so, by calling me fighting Tom, that my uncle shut his door upon me as a disgrace to the family, saying, he wished the first bullet had laid me dead—very kind of him;—at last my patience was worn out, and I looked about to find whether there were not some people who did not consider courage as a sine quae non. I found that the Quakers’ tenets were against fighting, and therefore courage could not be necessary, so I have joined them, and I find that, if not a good soldier, I am, at all events, a very respectable Quaker; and now you have the whole of my story—and tell me if you are of my opinion.”
“Why, really it’s a very difficult point to decide. I never heard such a case of disintegration before. I must think upon it.”
“Of course, you will not say a word about it, Newland.”
“Never fear, I will keep your secret, Talbot. How long have you worn the dress?”
“Oh, more than a year. By-the-bye, what a nice young person that Susannah Temple is. I’ve a great mind to propose for her.”
“But you must first ascertain what your body says to it, Talbot,” replied I, sternly. “I allow no one to interfere with me, Quaker or not.”
“My dear fellow, I beg your pardon, I shall think no more about her,” said Talbot, rising up, as he observed that I looked very fierce. “I wish you a good morning. I leave Reading to-morrow. I will call on you, and say good-bye, if I can;” and I saw no more of Friend Talbot, whose mind was all courage, but whose body was so renegade.
I fall in with Timothy.
About a month after this, I heard a sailor with one leg, and a handful of ballads, singing in a most lachrymal tone,
“Why, what’s that to you if my eyes I’m a wiping? A tear is a pleasure, d’ye see, in its way”—