Fighting, young gentlemen, is a brutal practice, dating back to the very earliest ages of mankind, and no doubt imitated from the wild beasts whom they saw around them. Whereas you live in these later days, in the midst of civilisation in its highest, most cultivated forms, so that there is no excuse whatever for your acts."
I wish it were possible to speak here of some of the countless acts of gallantry and self-sacrifice performed by our infantry during this three days' battle. Most of these, however, reached me at second-hand, and it is as well to write mainly of things seen. The story of one may perhaps be told as being typical of many, and this story I know to be true.
The body of illustrious men named by the late King as his executors appeared, to ask Tom's approval of certain acts of theirs rather a form, and yet not wholly a form, since there was no Protector as yet.
To supersede one man by another, that he might perform the very same acts in the same way, would be something too ludicrous and absurd.
When the man and Cosette had taken their departure, Thenardier allowed a full quarter of an hour to elapse; then he took her aside and showed her the fifteen hundred francs. "Is that all?" said she. It was the first time since they had set up housekeeping that she had dared to criticise one of the master's acts. The blow told. "You are right, in sooth," said he; "I am a fool. Give me my hat."
For several hours we had not spoken except as he asked me for the readings of the instruments from time to time, and I announced them. My thoughts were filled with vain regrets. I recalled numerous acts of my past life which I should have been glad to have had a few more years to live down.
As you are strong, be gentle; as you can love one, be kind to all; as you have so much that is grand as Man, that is, the highest of God's works on earth, let all your acts attach your manhood to the idea of Him, to whom the voice of the bell appeals. Ah! the bell is hushed; but not your heart, Tom, that speaks still." Tom was weeping like a child.
Men, actuated by a mistaken sense of duty, might, under this influence, be led to the commission of the most flagitious, as well as the most heroic acts: If it were his desire to accumulate wealth, or institute a new sect, he should need no other instrument. I listened to this kind of discourse with great avidity, and regretted when he thought proper to introduce new topics.
The most surprising thing connected with "Home as Found," however, is Cooper's unconsciousness, not of the probability, but of the possibility, that he would be charged with drawing himself in the character of Edward Effingham, and to some extent in that of John Effingham. The sentiments advanced were his sentiments, the acts described were in many cases his acts.
It was true that this wrecking of trains and attacks on the line guarded by American soldiers made things look serious, but they felt sure that the confidence existing between the American and Red Guard Headquarters was so well established that these acts of brigandage could only be due to some misunderstanding.