Friday, June 6, 2008

Wellington and the Toad


Napoleon was worshiped and feared, but men loved and adored the Iron Duke. Of the former, how few are the kindly human traits recorded, while of the other to this day fresh proofs keep coming to light of simple sweetness dwelling long in the minds of men! The following anecdote concerning a letter lately exhumed may serve as one instance out of a thousand illustrating the sympathetic nature of the great commander. The letter, so far as my memory serves, was in some such terms as these:

"Field Marshal the Duke of Wellington begs to inform William Harris that his toad is alive and well."

It seems that the duke, in the course of a country stroll, had come upon a little boy weeping bitterly over a toad. A strange trio they must have been — the lean, keen eyed old soldier, the flushed, sobbing boy, and between them the wrinkled reptile squatting, with tearless eyes and throbbing sides. The boy wept because he was going to school next day. He had come daily to feed his toad. The little heart was racked with grief because he feared his darling would be neglected when he was gone and might starve. The duke's heart was as soft as the boy's, for he undertook to see that the toad was looked after, and the letter above quoted is one of the subsequent bulletins. — Boston Post.

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