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CHAPTER V.

“ There are sounds of mirth in the night air ringing,

And lamps from every casement shown;
While voices blithe within are singing,
And seem to say 'Come' in every tone.”

IRISH MELODIES.

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ARRIVING at the colonel's room, no slight degree of comfort was apparent, considering it was within the dull confines of a garrison, and that no Lara presided over domestic affairs. A bright fire was burning in the grate, the crockery was arranged for the Turkish beverage, whilst the wax candles, the handsome plate, and other etceteras, imparted an aristocratic air not to be mistaken, yet without any of that ostentatious pomp inseparable from plebeian vulgarity. In one corner of the room were two or three packing boxes of goodly size, covered with horse skin, made doubly strong by broad plates of iron, and at either end was a ponderous handle, denoting that utility and strength were the requisites desired. Behind the door hung a blue military cloak, a foragingcap, and a handsome crimson sash ; over the mantelpiece was a rack, on which were placed a couple of swords, and a brace of pistols in their holsters; on the walls were suspended some half-dozen engravings, preserving the lineaments of Turenne, the great Condé, Marlborough, and the gallant Lord Clive. There were also sketches of certain American and Indian fortresses, which the soldierartist had left to be gazed upon by the subsequent occupiers of the room.

In a recess were, as near as might be guessed, three or four dozen volumes, chiefly consisting of histories, and works on military science. This small library Sommerton invariably carried with him from one garrison to another. The justifiableness of war was a

subject on which he had bestowed much attention. Nothing afforded him more pleasure than to enter upon this favourite topic. He defended the doctrine that war was one of those evils which, for some wise purpose, Providence had decreed should through all time exist in the world. Whenever he chanced to converse with any one who would discuss the question, a longand tiresomelecture was sure to result, to which he

gave

evidence that he had not superficially reasoned on the matter.

The furniture was plain, substantial, and selected for durability rather than appearance. There was, however, a lack of those little niceties which a lady's presence can alone supply, as it would be beneath the dignity of the manly warrior to descend to the consideration of such trifling minutiæ; there was, therefore, an air of bachelorism, making it truly appear a soldier's home, and that seemed to say the occupant might be here to-day and gone to-morrow. But Sommerton was as comfortable as if at Mivart's or in Grosvenor Square. It matters little how we fare, so long as happiness is our lot.

Presently did the two friends chat over their coffee, now reverting to some past pleasure, then talking over a departed friend, and at intervals returning to "foughten fields."

“It is really astonishing how time flies, De Bohun! Why, lo! when young, a year seemed double the length it does now. The further we advance towards the mortal goal, the quicker our progression."

“True_true—very true,” returned Godfrey, as he thoughtfully replaced his cup on the table, and then looked wistfully at the fire, according to his wont. “It does, indeed,” continued he; "we are both waxing towards the sere and yellow leaf !"

“ Many, indeed, are the anxieties that beset our path as we hurry on through the brief span

of existence! My day, like that of many others, has been a stormy one. For years it has been my wish to fall in the field; and may this hand's last grasp hold that sword which I have never raised but in the defence of my country and my king."

These words were expressed with more than wonted energy. The recollection of past circumstances, when reverting to bygone years, always awakened feelings of sensitiveness, if not of pain; and whenever he did refer to earlier days, it was obvious the reflections were of a sorrowful nature. Godfrey, in a brief manner, replied, to the effect that it was most glorious for an old soldier to wind up his earthly career on the sod; nevertheless, he internally regarded glory as a very fine thing in its

way, and a very nice thing to talk about, but for his part he had no itching desire to be cut and hewed and buried in a trench. He had a prejudice in favour of living on till nature, and not a whiskered hussar, stopped for ever the pulses of vitality.

“De Bohun, where were we stationed when you sold out? Was it not at Gibraltar ?" “It was,” returned Godfrey. “My father

I was his only child, and circumstances indispensably demanded my presence in England. I disposed of my commission, but

died;

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