The Disabled Soldier Part 5

“The
boatswain found me, as he said, an obstinate fellow: he swore he knew that I
understood my business well, but that I shammed Abraham, to be idle; but God
knows, I knew nothing of sea-business, and he beat me without considering what
he was about. I had still, however, my forty pounds, and that was some comfort
to me under every beating; and the money I might have had to this day, but that
our ship was taken by the French, and so I lost all.

“Our
crew was carried into Brest, and many of them died, because they were not used
to live in a jail; but for my part, it was nothing to me, for I was seasoned.
One night, as I was asleep on the bed of boards, with a warm blanket about me,
for I always loved to lie well, I was awakened by the boatswain, who had a dark
lantern in his hand. ‘Jack,’ says he to me, ‘will you knock out the French
sentry’s brains?’ ‘I don’t care,’ says I, striving to keep myself awake, ‘if I
lend a hand.’ ‘Then, follow me,’ s

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The Disabled Soldier Part 4

We
had but an indifferent passage, for being all confined in the hold, more than a
hundred of our people died for want of sweet air; and those that remained were
sickly enough, God knows. When we came ashore we were sold to the planters, and
I was bound for seven years more. As I was no scholar, for I did not know my
letters, I was obliged to work among the negroes; and I served out my time, as
in duty bound to do.

“When
my time was expired, I worked my passage home, and glad I was to see old
England again, because I loved my country. I was afraid, however, that I should
be indicted for a vagabond once more, so did not much care to go down into the
country, but kept about the town, and did little jobs when I could get them.

Man of war

“I
was very happy in this manner for some time till one evening, coming home from
work, two men knocked me down, and then desired me to stand. They belonged to a
press-gang. I was carried before the

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The Disabled Soldier Part 3

I
had some dis-position to be a scholar, and was resolved at least to know my letters:
but the master of the workhouse put me to business as soon as I was able to
handle a mallet; and here I lived an easy kind of life for five years. I only
wrought ten hours in the day, and had my meat and drink provided for my labor.
It is true, I was not suffered to stir out of the house, for fear, as they
said, I should run away; but what of that?

Business well enough

I
had the liberty of the whole house, and the yard before the door, and that was
enough for me. I was then bound out to a farmer, where I was up both early and
late; but I ate and drank well; and liked my business well enough, till he
died, when I was obliged to provide for myself; so I resolved to go seek my
fortune.

“In
this manner I went from town to town, worked when I could get employment, and
starved when I could get none; when, happening one day to go through a field
belong

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The Disabled Soldier Part 2

With
what indignation do I hear an Ovid, a Cicero or a Rabutin complain of their
misfortunes and hardships, whose greatest calamity was that of being unable to
visit a certain spot of earth, to which they had foolishly attached an idea of
happiness. Their distresses were pleasures, compared to what many of the
adventuring poor every day endure without murmuring. They ate, drank, and
slept; they had slaves to attend them, and were sure of subsistence for life;
while many of their fellow creatures are obliged to wander without a friend to
comfort- or assist them, and even without shelter from the severity of the
season.

I
have been led into these reflections from accidentally meeting, some days ago,
a poor fellow, whom I knew when a boy, dressed in a sailor’s jacket, and
begging at one of the outlets of the town, with a wooden leg. I knew him to
have been honest and industrious when in the country, and was curious to learn
what had reduced him to his present situation. Whe

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The Disabled Soldier Part 1

Oliver Goldsmith (1728-1774)

Goldsmith’s
family were Irish people of English descent. Oliver Goldsmith was born in
County Longford, Ireland. He went to Trinity College, Dublin, and after his
graduation in 1749, began the study of medicine at Edinburgh. After a short
period in Scotland he left for the Continent, where he wandered from country to
country.

After
his return to London in 1756 his early essays and verses attracted the
attention of Dr. Johnson, and he became a member of the illustrious group that
gathered round that literary monarch. The years between 1759 and 1773 were the
most productive of his entire career. The Vicar of Wakefield, which is a
landmark in the development of prose fiction, appeared in 1766. Like Addison
and Steele and other of the periodical essayists, Goldsmith wrote several short
stories of high merit. The Disabled Soldier was first printed in the Citizen of
the World, in 1760.

The Disabled So

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