fact that one of the combatants is one-eyed and the other cross-eyed and near-sighted, it seems to me that this conflict need not necessarily be fatal There are chances that both of you may survive. Therefore, cheer up; do not be downhearted."
This speech had so good an effect that my principal immediately stretched forth his hand and said, "I am myself again; give me the weapon."
|THE POST OF DANGER.|
I laid it, all lonely and forlorn, in the centre of the vast solitude of his palm. He gazed at it and shuddered. And still mournfully contemplating it, he murmured, in a broken voice,—
"Alas, it is not death I dread but mutilation."
I heartened him once more, and with such success that he presently said, "Let the tragedy begin. Stand at my back; do not desert me in this solemn hour, my friend."
I gave him my promise. I now assisted him to point his pistol toward the spot where I judged his adversary to be standing, and cautioned him to listen well and further guide himself by my fellow second's whoop. Then I propped myself against M. Gambetta's back, and raised a rousing "Whoop-ee!" This was answered from out the far distances of the fog, and I immediately shouted,—
Two little sounds like spit' spit! broke upon my ear, and in the same instant I was crushed to the earth under a mountain of flesh. Bruised as I was, I was still able to catch a faint accent from above, to this effect,—
"I die for . . . for . . . perdition take it, what is it I die for? . . . oh, yes,—France! I die that France may live!"
The surgeons swarmed around with their probes in their hands, and applied their microscopes to the whole area of M.