Excerpt from Perlycross: A Novel
Sir Thomas Waldron, of Walderscourt, had battled as bravely with the sword of steel as the churchman had with the spiritual weapon, receiving damages more abiding than the latter can inflict. Although by no means invalided, perhaps he had been pleased at first to fall into the easy lap of peace. After eight years of constant hardship, frequent wounds, and famishing, he had struck his last blow at Waterloo, and then settled down in the English home, with its comforting cares and mild delights.
Now, in his fiftieth year, he seemed more likely to stand on the battlements of life than many a lad of twenty. Straight and tall, robust and ruddy, clear of skin, and sound of foot; he was even cited by the doctors of the time as a proof of the benefit that flows from bleeding freely. Few men living had shed more blood (from their own veins at any rate) for the good of their native land, and none had made less fuss about it; so that his country, with any sense of gratitude, must now put substance into him. Yet he was by no means over-fat; simply in good case and form. In a word, you might search the whole country, and fine no finer specimen of a man, and a gentleman, too, than Colonel Sir Thomas Waldron.
All this Mr. Penniloe knew well; and having been a small boy when the colonel was a big one, at the best school in the west of England, he owed him many a good turn for the times when the body rules the roost, and the mind is a little chick that can't say, "cockadoodle." In those fine days education was a truly rational process, creating a void in the juvenile system by hunger, and filling it up with thumps. Scientific research has now satisfied itself that the mind and the body are the self-same thing; but this was not understood as yet, and the one ministered to the other. For example, the big Tom Waldron supplied the little Phil Penniloe with dumps and penny-puddings, and with fists ever ready for his defence; while the quicker mind sat upon the broad arch of chest sprawling along the old oak bench, and construed the lessons for it, or supplied the sad hexameter. When such a pair meet again in later life, sweet memories arise and fine good-will.
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