BOOK V. CONTAINING A PORTION OF TIME SOMEWHAT LONGER THAN HALF A YEAR.
12. Chapter xii. In which is seen a more moving spectacle...
Jones immediately complied, threw off his coat, went down to the
water, and washed both his face and bosom; for the latter was as much
exposed and as bloody as the former. But though the water could clear
off the blood, it could not remove the black and blue marks which
Thwackum had imprinted on both his face and breast, and which, being
discerned by Sophia, drew from her a sigh and a look full of
Jones received this full in his eyes, and it had infinitely a stronger
effect on him than all the contusions which he had received before. An
effect, however, widely different; for so soft and balmy was it, that,
had all his former blows been stabs, it would for some minutes have
prevented his feeling their smart.
The company now moved backwards, and soon arrived where Thwackum had
got Mr Blifil again on his legs. Here we cannot suppress a pious wish,
that all quarrels were to be decided by those weapons only with which
Nature, knowing what is proper for us, hath supplied us; and that cold
iron was to be used in digging no bowels but those of the earth. Then
would war, the pastime of monarchs, be almost inoffensive, and battles
between great armies might be fought at the particular desire of
several ladies of quality; who, together with the kings themselves,
might be actual spectators of the conflict. Then might the field be
this moment well strewed with human carcasses, and the next, the dead
men, or infinitely the greatest part of them, might get up, like Mr
Bayes's troops, and march off either at the sound of a drum or fiddle,
as should be previously agreed on.
I would avoid, if possible, treating this matter ludicrously, lest
grave men and politicians, whom I know to be offended at a jest, may
cry pish at it; but, in reality, might not a battle be as well decided
by the greater number of broken heads, bloody noses, and black eyes,
as by the greater heaps of mangled and murdered human bodies? Might
not towns be contended for in the same manner? Indeed, this may be
thought too detrimental a scheme to the French interest, since they
would thus lose the advantage they have over other nations in the
superiority of their engineers; but when I consider the gallantry and
generosity of that people, I am persuaded they would never decline
putting themselves upon a par with their adversary; or, as the phrase
is, making themselves his match.