The Actress in High Life eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 372 pages of information about The Actress in High Life.

“But you forget that I am an invalid, not yet fit for duty.”

“You are getting more fit for it every day.  My invalid tutor would become a sound colonel long before I had made much progress under his tuition.”

“But I would not object to relaxing from my military duties, and prolonging my invalid condition in your service.”

“Let me beg that you do no such thing, but hasten to get so well as to forget your wounds, and the awkward occasion on which you received them.”

“Why,” said L’Isle, in some surprise, “what have you heard of that occasion?”

“Perhaps you, like some other people, do not care to be reminded of your blunders,” said Lady Mabel, mischievously.

“Blunders?” said L’Isle, “I do not see how a soldier can avoid exposing himself occasionally to the risk of being shot, sabred, or bayoneted.  What blunder of mine have you heard of?”

“Merely that on the approach of a French column, you, instead of rejoining the main body, in great alarm hid yourself and your men in a little Spanish village too mean to have a name.  The French found you out, and kept you shut up there in great trepidation for five or six hours, while they were cutting away your barricades, beating in the doors, and tearing off the roofs of the houses.  Your case was as desperate as that of a rat in a trap; and when your friends came to your relief, they had to knock a great many of the French in the head before they could persuade them to let you slip out.  But, by some lucky misunderstanding at headquarters, you were soon after made a lieut. colonel.”

“Do you know,” said L’Isle, laughing, “that this is, to me, quite a new version of that little affair?  Did you hear whether we did the French any damage, while they beset us so closely?”

“Nothing was said on that score.  So I suppose you did them little harm.”

“It is lucky for me that your informant had not the reporting of this affair at headquarters.”

“It is said that you had that more adroitly done by your own friends.”

“They give me credit at least for good diplomacy,” said L’Isle.  “Or, at all events, it is a good thing to have a friend at court—­that is, at the elbow of the commander-in-chief.  And it seems that I have one there.  But still you make a great mistake in declining my services as a teacher of the Spanish tongue.  I may be a blundering soldier, but have made myself thoroughly master of the languages of the Peninsula, and have a decided aptitude for teaching.  Let me begin by warning you against a blunder we English always commit, in trying to speak a tongue not our own, with the mouth half open, and the hands in the pockets.  Now, when you address a foreigner in his own tongue, speak with much noise and vociferation, opening your mouth wide and using much action.  The ideas you cannot convey in words, you must communicate by gesticulation, the more emphatic the better.”

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The Actress in High Life from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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