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Or if it be thy will and pleasure,
Preserve, Almighty Providence!
THE ANGLER'S WISH.
And let me tell you, scholar, this kind of fishing with a dead rod, and laying night hooks, are like putting money to use; for they both work for their owners when they do nothing but sleep, or eat, or rejoice, as you know we have done this last hour, and sat as quietly and as free from cares under this sycamore, as Virgil's Tityrus and his Melibus did under their broad beech tree. No life, my honest scholar, no life so happy and so pleasant as the life of a well-governed angler; for when the lawyer is swallowed up with business, and the statesman is preventing and contriving plots, then we set on cowslip banks, hear the birds sing, and possess ourselves in as much quietness as these silent silver streams which we now see glide so quietly by us. Indeed, my good scholar, we may say of angling as Dr. Boteler said of strawberries, "Doubtless God could have made a better berry, but doubtless God never did;" and so (if I might be judge) "God never did make a more calm, quiet, innocent recreation than angling."
I'll tell you, scholar, when I sat last on this primrose bank, and looked down these meadows, I thought of them as Charles the Emperor did of the city of
Florence," that they were too pleasant to be looked on but only on holidays." As I then sat on this very grass, I turned my present thoughts into verse: 'twas a wish, which I'll repeat to you:—
THE ANGLER'S WISH.
I in these flowery meads would be;
Sit here, and see the turtle-dove
Or on that bank feel the west wind
Or a laverock build her nest:
Thus, free from law-suits and the noise
Or, with my Bryan* and a book,
And angle on; and beg to have
# Supposed to be the name of his dog.
The quality of mercy is not strain'd;
And earthly power doth then show likest God's,
There was a Newfoundland dog on board the Bellona, last war, who kept the deck during the battle of Copenhagen, running backwards and forwards with so brave an anger, that he became a greater favourite with the men than ever. When the ship was paid off, after the peace of Amiens, the sailors had a parting dinner on shore. Victor was placed in the chair, and fed with roast-beef and plum-pudding, and the bill was made out in Victor's name. He was so called after his original master, who was no less a personage than Victor Hugo. Southey's Omniana, vol. i. p. 294.
BEFORE THE BATTLE,
And there was another of our acquaintances who was also to be left behind, a non-combatant, and whose emotions and behaviour we have therefore a right to know. This was our friend the excollector of Boggleywollah, whose rest was broken, like other people's, by the sounding of the bugles in the early morning. Being a great sleeper, and fond of his bed, it is possible he would have snoozed on until his usual hour of rising in the forenoon, in spite of all the drums, bugles, and bagpipes in the British army, but for an interruption, which did not come from George Osborne, who shared Jos's quarters with him, and was as usual occupied too much with his own affairs, or with grief at parting with his wife, to think of taking leave of his slumbering brother-in-law-it was not George, we say, who interposed between Jos Sedley and sleep, but Captain Dobbin, who came and roused him up, insisting on shaking hands with him before his departure.
Very kind of you," said Jos, yawning, and wishing the Captain at the deuce.
"I-I didn't like to go off without saying goodbye, you know," Dobbin said in a very incoherent manner; because you know some of us mayn't come back again, and I like to see you all well and -and that sort of thing, you know."
"What do you mean?" Jos asked, rubbing his eyes. The Captain did not in the least hear him or look at the stout gentleman in the night-cap, about whom he professed to have such a tender interest. The hypocrite was looking and listening with all his might in the direction of George's apartments, striding about the room, upsetting the
chairs, beating the tattoo, biting his nails, and showing other signs of great inward emotion.
Jos had always had rather a mean opinion of the Captain, and now began to think his courage was somewhat equivocal. "What is it I can do for you, Dobbin?" he said in a sarcastic tone.
"I tell you what you can do," the Captain replied, coming up to the bed; we march in a quarter of an hour, Sedley, and neither George nor may ever come back. Mind you, you are not to stir from this town until you ascertain how things go. You are to stay here and watch over your sister, and comfort her, and see that no harm comes to her. If anything happens to George, remember she has no one but you in the world to look to. If it goes wrong with the army, you'll see her safe back to England; and you will promise me on your word that you will never desert her. I know you won't as far as money goes you were always free enough with that. Do you want any? I mean, have you enough gold to take you back to England in case of a misfortune?"
"Sir," said Jos, majestically, "when I want money, I know where to ask for it. And as for my sister, you needn't tell me how I ought to behave to her."
"You speak like a man of spirit, Jos," the other answered goodnaturedly, "and I am glad that George can leave her in such good hands. So I may give him your word of honour, may I, that in case of extremity you will stand by her?"
"Of course, of course," answered Mr. Jos, whose generosity in money matters Dobbin estimated quite correctly.
"And you'll see her safe out of Brussels in the event of a defeat ?"
"A defeat! D-it, Sir, it's impossible. Don't try and frighten me," the hero cried from his bed;