BOOK VII. CONTAINING THREE DAYS.
15. Chapter xv. The conclusion of the foregoing adventure.
The conclusion of the foregoing adventure.
Besides the suspicion of sleep, the lieutenant harboured another and
worse doubt against the poor centinel, and this was, that of
treachery; for as he believed not one syllable of the apparition, so
he imagined the whole to be an invention formed only to impose upon
him, and that the fellow had in reality been bribed by Northerton to
let him escape. And this he imagined the rather, as the fright
appeared to him the more unnatural in one who had the character of as
brave and bold a man as any in the regiment, having been in several
actions, having received several wounds, and, in a word, having
behaved himself always like a good and valiant soldier.
That the reader, therefore, may not conceive the least ill opinion of
such a person, we shall not delay a moment in rescuing his character
from the imputation of this guilt.
Mr Northerton then, as we have before observed, was fully satisfied
with the glory which he had obtained from this action. He had perhaps
seen, or heard, or guessed, that envy is apt to attend fame. Not that
I would here insinuate that he was heathenishly inclined to believe in
or to worship the goddess Nemesis; for, in fact, I am convinced he
never heard of her name. He was, besides, of an active disposition,
and had a great antipathy to those close quarters in the castle of
Gloucester, for which a justice of peace might possibly give him a
billet. Nor was he moreover free from some uneasy meditations on a
certain wooden edifice, which I forbear to name, in conformity to the
opinion of mankind, who, I think, rather ought to honour than to be
ashamed of this building, as it is, or at least might be made, of more
benefit to society than almost any other public erection. In a word,
to hint at no more reasons for his conduct, Mr Northerton was desirous
of departing that evening, and nothing remained for him but to
contrive the quomodo, which appeared to be a matter of some