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HISTORY OF A FEMALE WARRIOR.
4Ravished with wars' and danger's horrid charms, She with impetuous ardour flew to arms."
SIR RICHARD BLACKMORE. The father of Jane Wildfire was an old soldier, who, with a wooden leg and four wounds in various parts of his body, was at length discharged the service. He arrived at his old cottage, where he found his wife, his daughter Jane, and his son, all stout, robust, and hearty. They had lived as well as they could, and the best they could was hardly enough, They spun, weeded gardens, and did any laborious work that fell in their way.
Jane was always remarkably strong, and could earn some shillings per week, which was a chief source of wealth, by cutting wood, and selling it to the cottagers for fuel in winter time.
The sudden appearance of the father was a heavy blow upon this poor family, who could hardly scrape up money enough to keep themselves from starving during the hard season of the year. Affection, however, will go a great way; they resolved, therefore, to work double tides for the old man. He was very grateful for their attention, and often made their work seem lighter, by telling them stories of the scenes he had been engaged in. He was so justly proud of his own king and country, that he hated the French almost as much as he adored the name of an Englishman. While he was speaking, Jane felt a sensation unlike any thing she had ever known before. She dreamed of nothing but fighting, and her father was so pleased
with her earnestness, that he cut a piece of timber into
the shape of a gun, taught her the manual and platoon E. chers' exercises, gave her a correct idea of the marching, si" facing, and all the minutiæ of military manœuvres. CEAD B
She added to this a complete knowledge of the broadadd to main sword, and could wield any heavy instrument with untanicus non common facility. She almost forgot she was a woman;
and if any of the neighbouring rustics offered her an
affront, she immediately laid aside the delicacy of her ut, robust sex, and, with a stout cudgel in her hand, seldom failed
of making the aggressor heartily sorry for his temerity.
The illness of her brother Tom, who laboured hard for the support of this little family, soon involved them
in a state of the most deplorable poverty. At this sad and could o
moment, their hopes were a little revived by the arrival of a man of fortune, who came to settle in the neighbourhood.
This stranger was one Captain Popinjay, a young was aber gentleman, to whom the old soldier had formerly renhardly sz" dered a very material service. The captain had been from sering sent to his regiment a raw, inexperienced youth. He
was a very accomplished gentleman: he could sing, he could dance, he could speak French, but unluckily he was totally ignorant of the duties of a soldier. He committed so many blunders, that the commanding officer expressed his intention of complaining to the general, who was expected to superintend an ensuing review. Captain Popinjay would, most likely, have been subjected to some rebuke and mortification, had he not happened to have old Wildfire for his servant.
He was so zealously attached to his master, that he s so please promised to make all his difficulties easy. The captain
fection, hepi , therefore, te He was net Je their work he scenes de
proud of the Tench almas
Englishman zation unlike
attended to him, and the veteran's explanations were
The adjoining estate to the captain's was occupied by
1 Mr. Scamper. This gentleman was a great man at all elections, and the captain was now very ambitious of being a parliament man: no one ever dreamed of succeeding in that part of the world till he had first conciliated the interests of Mr. Scamper.
Henry Scamper, Esquire, had passed the earlier part of his life by being, in the most literal sense of the word, the very obedient humble servant of every great man in power, and serving them in every way which could be effected by the most abandoned prostitution of his character and his principles: as Sir Pertinax M‘Sycophant says, he
“ Bowed, and bowed, and bowed,
And wriggled, and wrought," till he had at last wriggled himself into the estate he now possessed; and where he was feared, hated, and despised, or flattered, fawned upon, and cringed to by all the surrounding gentry: for, although he was looked upon as a scroundrel that was a disgrace to the community of which he was a member, yet did he hold a scourge in his hand, with which he could lash all who dared oppose his tyranny; and as men sometimes hold the candle to the devil, he was often smiled upon by those who cursed him in their hearts, and had a party at his command by whose influence he could have any candidate elected or rejected, as it concurred with his interest or caprice.
Before the return of the veteran soldier, Mr. Scamper had been visited by the son of a peer, of great consequence in the metropolis. His name was the Honourable Mr. Whiffleton. His face was as ugly as affectation could make it; he was longer dressing than in a lady, and his dress, when finished, only tended to sizard make him ridiculous.
Poor Jane was a well-looking, healthy girl. Mr. pokaz Whiffleton, though one of the ugliest men ever seen, and took it into his head that no girl could look at hims: the without falling in love with him. He placed his affections on poor Jane; but as she always shunned him, by the advice of Mr. Scamper, he sent his French valet, kishin Monsieur la Jeunesse to her, with a proposal. This valet informed her, that his master was waiting an antar, swer some hundred yards from the cottage. She con potrann ducted Monsieur to her mother, and begged him to repeat his message to her. This ancient dame no sooner understood that the minikin gentleman's mes reciendly sage was levelled against the honour of her daughter, 10 than she seized the astonished valet by his two ears, behave and, after pulling them till he roared with pain, locked him in a cupboard, where she bade him stay until she had inflicted the same punishment upon his master.
Jane, however, desired the old lady to trust the management of her lover to herself. She found him as spruce as hands could make him. She took him by the hand, and walked with him for near a quarter of a mile, till she came to the bankside of a muddy ditch. Here, making a full stop, he began to press hard for a
salute, which she as rigourously refused: he persisted, ... and was advancing to snatch the favour by force, when,
darting out her sinewy arm, she gave him a blow on the pit of the stomach, which sent him screaming and sprawling into the mud and filth below. Jane then ran laughing home, and released the shivering Frenchman.