BOOK VII. CONTAINING THREE DAYS.
12. Chapter xii. The adventure of a company of officers.
The adventure of a company of officers.
The lieutenant, whom we mentioned in the preceding chapter, and who
commanded this party, was now near sixty years of age. He had entered
very young into the army, and had served in the capacity of an ensign
at the battle of Tannieres; here he had received two wounds, and had
so well distinguished himself, that he was by the Duke of Marlborough
advanced to be a lieutenant, immediately after that battle.
In this commission he had continued ever since, viz., near forty
years; during which time he had seen vast numbers preferred over his
head, and had now the mortification to be commanded by boys, whose
fathers were at nurse when he first entered into the service.
Nor was this ill success in his profession solely owing to his having
no friends among the men in power. He had the misfortune to incur the
displeasure of his colonel, who for many years continued in the
command of this regiment. Nor did he owe the implacable ill-will which
this man bore him to any neglect or deficiency as an officer, nor
indeed to any fault in himself; but solely to the indiscretion of his
wife, who was a very beautiful woman, and who, though she was
remarkably fond of her husband, would not purchase his preferment at
the expense of certain favours which the colonel required of her.
The poor lieutenant was more peculiarly unhappy in this, that while he
felt the effects of the enmity of his colonel, he neither knew, nor
suspected, that he really bore him any; for he could not suspect an
ill-will for which he was not conscious of giving any cause; and his
wife, fearing what her husband's nice regard to his honour might have
occasioned, contented herself with preserving her virtue without
enjoying the triumphs of her conquest.
This unfortunate officer (for so I think he may be called) had many
good qualities besides his merit in his profession; for he was a
religious, honest, good-natured man; and had behaved so well in his
command, that he was highly esteemed and beloved not only by the
soldiers of his own company, but by the whole regiment.