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would not care to look for her, and if her
deed had a tragic Intent she would keep
aloof from camp and village.

In his trouble he thouQfht of Anne. She
was a nice girl, and could be trusted. To
her he went, and found her in a state of
excitement and anxiety which equalled his
own.

* 'Tis so lonely to cruise for her all



THE TRUMPET-MAJOR. 6 1

by myself!' said Bob disconsolately, his
forehead all In wrinkles ; * and I've thought
you would come with me and cheer the

way ? '

' Where shall we search ? ' said Anne.

' Oh, In the holes of rivers, you know, and
down wells, and In quarries, and over cliffs,
and like that. Your eyes might catch the
loom of any bit of a shawl or bonnet that I
should overlook, and It would do me a real
service. Please do come ! '

So Anne took pity upon him, and put on
her hat and went, the miller and David hav-
ing gone off In another direction. They
examined the ditches of fields, Bob eolne
round by one fence and Anne by the other,
till they met at the opposite side. Then
they peeped under culverts. Into outhouses,
and down old wells and quarries, till the
theory of a tragical end had nearly spent Its



62 THE TRUMPET-MAJOR.

force in Bob's mind, and he began to think
that Matilda had simply run away. How-
ever, they still walked on, though by this
time the sun was hot and Anne would gladly
have sat down.

* Now, didn't you think highly of her. Miss
Garland ? ' he Inquired, as the search began
to languish.

' Oh yes/ said Anne ; ' very highly.'
' She was really beautiful ; no nonsense
about her looks, was there ? '

* None. Her beauty was thoroughly ripe
— not too young. We should all have got to
love her. What can have possessed her to
go away ? '

' I don't know, and, upon my life, I shall
soon be drove to say I don't care ! ' replied
the mate despairingly. * Let me pilot ye
down over those stones,' he added, as Anne
began to descend a rugged quarry. He



THE TRUMPET-MAJOR. 6;^

Stepped forward, leapt down, and turned to
her.

She gave him her hand and sprang down.
Before he reHnquished his hold, Captain Bob
raised her fingers to his lips and kissed
them.

' Oh, Captain Loveday ! ' cried Anne,
snatching away her hand in genuine dismay,
while a tear rose unexpectedly to each eye.
* I never heard of such a thine I I won't eo
an Inch farther with you, sir ; it is too bare-
faced ! ' And she turned and ran off.

' Upon my life I didn't mean it ! ' said
the repentant captain, hastening after. ' I do
love her best — indeed I do — and I don't love
you at all. I am not so fickle as that ! I
merely just for the moment admired you as a
sweet little craft, and that's how I came to
do it. You know, Miss Garland,' he con-
tinued earnestly, and still running after, ' 'tis



64 THE TRUMPET-MAJOR.

like this : when you come ashore after having
been shut up In a ship for eighteen months,
women-folks seem so new and nice that you
can't help liking them, one and all, in a body ;
and so your heart is apt to get scattered and
yaws a bit; but of course I think of poor
Matilda most, and shall always stick to her.'
He heaved a sigh of tremendous magnitude,
to show beyond the possibility of doubt that
his heart was still in the place that honour
required.

* I am glad to hear that — of course I am
very glad ! ' said she, with quick petulance,
keeping her face turned from him. * And I
hope we shall find her, and that the wedding
will not be put off, and that you'll both be
happy. But I won't look for her any more !
No ; I don't care to look for her — and my
head aches. I am going home ! '

' And so am I,' said Robert promptly.



THE TRUMPET-MAJOR. 65

' No, no ; go on looking for her, of
course — all the afternoon, and all night. I
am sure you will, if you love her.'

' Oh, yes ; I mean to. Still, I ought to
convoy you home first ? *

' No, you ought not ; and I shall not
accept your company. Good morning, sir ! '
And she went off over one of the stone stiles
with which the spot abounded, leaving the
friendly sailor standing in the field.

He sighed again, and, observing the camp
not far off, thought he would go to his brother
John and ask him his opinion on the sorrow-
ful case. On reaching the tents he found
that John was not at liberty just at that time,
being engaged in practising the trumpeters ;
and leaving word that he wished the trumpet-
major to come down to the mill as soon as
possible, Bob went back again.

* 'Tis no good looking for her,' he said

VOL. I]. ■ F



66 THE TRUMPET-MAJOR.

gloomily. ' She liked me well enough, but
when she came here and saw the house, and
the place, and the old horse, and the plain
furniture, she was disappointed to find us all
so homely, and felt she didn't care to marry
Into such a family.'

His father and David had returned with
no news. ' Yes, 'tis as I've been thinking,
father,' Bob said. ' We weren't good
enough for her, and she went away in
scorn ! '

* Well, that can't be helped,' said the
miller. ' What we be, we be, and have been
for generations. To my mind she seemed
Mad enough to s^et hold of us.'

' Yes, yes — for the moment — because of
the flowers, and birds, and what's pretty in
the place,' said Bob tragically. ' But you
don't know, father — how should you know,
who have hardly been out of Overcombe in



THE TRUMPET-MAJOR. 67

your life ? — you don't know what delicate
feelinp^s are in a real refined woman's mind.
Any little vulgar action unreaves their nerves
like a marline spike. Now I wonder If you

did anything to disgust her ? '

' Faith ! not that I know of,' said Love-
day, reflecting. ' I didn't say a single thing
that I should naturally have said, on purpose
to give no offence.'

* You was always very homely, you know,
father.'

' Yes ; so I was,' said the miller meekly.

' I wonder what it could have been,' Bob
continued, wandering about restlessly. ' You
didn't go drinking out of the big mug with
your mouth full, or wipe your lips with your
sleeve ? '

' That I'll swear I didn't ! ' said the miller
firmly. ' Thinks I, there's no knowing what
I may do to shock her, so I'll take my solid



F 2



6S THE TRUMPET-MAJOR.

victuals in the bakehouse, and only a crumb
and a drop in her company for manners/

'You could do no more than that, cer-
tainly,' said Bob gently.

' If my manners be good enough for well-
brought-up people like the Garlands, they be
good enough for her,' continued the miller,
with a sense of injustice.

' That's true. Then it must have been
David. David, come here ! How did you
behave before that lady ? Now, mind you
speak the truth ! '

' Yes, Mr. Captain Robert,' said David
earnestly. I assure ye she was served like
a royal queen. The best silver spoons were
put down, and yer poor grandfer's silver
tanket, as you seed, and the feather cushion
for her to sit on '

'Now I've got it!' said Bob decisively,
bringing down his hand upon the window-



THE TRUMPET-MAJOR. 69

sill. ' Her bed was hard ! — and there's no-
thing shocks a true lady like that. The bed
in that room always was as hard as the Rock
of Gibraltar ! '

* No, Captain Bob ! The beds were
changed — wasn't they, malster ? We put the
goose bed in her room, and the flock one,
that used to be there, in yours.'

' Yes, we did,' corroborated the miller.
' David and I changed 'em with our own
hands, because they were too heavy for the
women to move.'

' Sure I didn't know I had the flock bed,'
murmured Bob. ' I slept on, little thinking
what I was going to wake to. Well, well,
she's gone ; and search as I will I shall never
find another like her ! She was too o-ood for

o

me. She must have carried her box with
her own hands, poor girl. As far as that
goes, I could overtake her even now, I dare



70 THE TRUMPET-MAJOR.

say ; but I won't entreat her against her will
— not I.'

Miller Loveday and David, feeling them-
selves to be rather a desecration in the pre-
sence of Bob's tender emotions, managed to
edge off by degrees, the former burying him-
self in the most floury recesses of the mill,
his invariable resource when perturbed, the
rumbling having a soothing effect upon the
nerves of those properly trained to its music.

Bob was so impatient that, after going up
to her room to assure himself once more that
she had not undressed, but had only lain
down on the outside of the bed, he went out
of the house to meet John, and waited on
the sunny slope of the down till his brother
appeared. John looked so brave and shapely
and warlike that, even in Bob's present dis-
tress, he could not but feel an honest and
affectionate pride at owning such a relative.



THE TRUMPET-MAJOR. 7 1

Yet he fancied that John did not come along
with the same swinging step he had shown
yesterday ; and when the trumpet-major got
nearer he looked anxiously at the mate and
waited for him to speak first.

' You know our great trouble, John ? ' said
Robert, gazing stoically Into his brothers
eyes.

' Come and sit down, and tell me all
about It,' answered the trumpet-major, show-
ing no surprise.

They went towards a slight ravine, where

It was easier to sit down than on the flat

ground, and here John reclined among the

grasshoppers, pointing to his brother to do

the same.

' But do you know what it is ? ' said

Robert. ' Has anybody told ye ? '

* I do know/ said John. ' She's gone ;

and I am thankful ! '



72 THE TRUMPET-MAJOR.

^ What ! ' said Bob, rising to his knees in
amazement.

* I'm at the bottom of it,' said the
trumpet-major slowly.

' You, J ohn ? '

' Yes ; and if you will listen I'll tell you
all. Do you remember what happened when
I came into the room last night ? Why, she
turned colour and nearly fainted away. That
was because she knew me.'

Bob stared at his brother with a face of
pain and distrust.

' For once, Bob, I must say something
that will hurt thee a good deal,' continued
John. ' She was not a woman who could
possibly be your wife — and so she's gone.'

' You sent her off ?'

' Well, I did.'

* John ! — Tell me right through — tell me ! '
^ Perhaps I had better' said the trumpet-



THE TRUMPET-MAJOR. *] 2^

major, his blue eyes resting on the far-distant
sea, that seemed to rise Hke a wall as high
as the hill they sat upon.

And then he told a tale of Miss Johnson
which wrung his heart as much In the telling
as it did Bob's to hear, and which showed
that John had been temporarily cruel to be
ultimately kind. Even Bob, excited as he
was, could discern from John's manner of
speaking what a terrible undertaking that
night's business had been for him. To justify
the course he had adopted the dictates of
duty must have been imperative ; but the
trumpet -major, with a becoming reticence
which his brother at the time was naturally
unable to appreciate, scarcely dwelt dis-
tinctly enough upon the compelling cause of
his conduct. It would, indeed, have been
hard for any man, much less so modest a
one as John, to do himself justice in that



74 THE TRUMPET-MAJOR.

remarkable relation, when the listener was
the lady's lover ; and it is no wonder that
Robert rose to his feet and put a greater
distance between himself and John.

* And what time was it ? ' he asked in a
hard, suppressed voice.

' It was just before one o'clock.'

' How could you help her to go away ? '

' I had a pass. I carried her box to the
coach-office. She was to follow at dawn.'

' But she had no money.'

' Yes, she had ; I took particular care of
that' John did not add, as he might have
done, that he had given her, in his pity, all
the money he possessed, and at present had
only eighteenpence in the world. ' Well, it
is over, Bob ; so sit ye down, and talk with
me of old times,' he added.

' Ah, Jack, it is well enough for you to
speak like that,' said the disquieted sailor ;



THE TRUMPET-MAJOR. 75

' but I can't help feeling that it is a cruel
thing you have done. After all, she would
have been snug enough for me. Would I
had never found out this about her ! John,
why did you interfere ? You had no right
to overhaul my affairs like this. Why didn't
you tell me fairly all you knew, and let me
do as I chose ? You have turned her out of
the house, and it's a shame ! If she had only
come to me ! Why didn't she ? '

' Because she knew it was best to do
otherwise.'

'Well, I shall go after her,' said Bob
firmly.

* You can do as you like,' said John ;
' but I would advise you strongly to leave
matters where they are.'

' I won't leave matters where they are,'
said Bob impetuously. ' You have made
me miserable, and all for nothing. I tell you



"](> THE TRUMPET-MAJOR.

she was good enough for me ; and as long as
I knew nothing about what you say of her
history, what difference would it have made
to me ? Never was there a young woman
who was better company ; and she loved a
merry song as I do myself. Yes, I'll follow
her.'

* Oh, Bob,' said John ; ' I hardly expected
this ! '

' That's because you didn't know your
man. Can I ask you to do me one kind-
ness ? I don't suppose I can. Can I ask
you not to say a word against her to any of
them at home ? '

* Certainly. The very reason why I got
her to go off silently, as she has done, was
because nothing should be said against her
here, and no scandal should be heard of.'

' That may be ; but I'm off after her.
Marry that girl I will ! '



THE TRUMPET-MAJOR. 77

* You'll be sorry.'

* That we shall see,' replied Robert with
determination ; and he went away rapidly
towards the mill. The trumpet-major had
no heart to follow — no good could possibly
come of further opposition ; and there on the
down he remained like a sfraven Imaee till
Bob had vanished from his sight Into the
mill.

Bob entered his father's only to leave
word that he was going on a renewed search
for Matilda, and to pack up a few necessaries
for his journey. Ten minutes later he came
out again with a bundle In his hand, and John
saw him go diagonally across the lower fields
towards the high road.

' And this Is all the orood I have done ! '

o

said John, musingly readjusting his stock
where It cut his neck, and descending towards
the mill.



jZ THE TRUMPET-MAJOR.



CHAPTER XX.

HOW THEY LESSENED THE EFFECT OF THE

CALAMITY.

Meanwhile Anne Garland had gone home,
and, being weary with her scramble in search
of Matilda, sat silent in a corner of the room.
Her mother was passing the time in giving
utterance to every conceivable surmise on the
cause of Miss Johnson's disappearance that
the human mind could frame, to which Anne
returned monosyllabic answers, the result,
not of indifference, but of intense pre-occupa-
tion. Presently Loveday, the father, came to
the door ; her mother vanished with him, and
they remained closeted together a long time.



THE TRUMPET-MAJOR. 79

Anne went Into the garden and seated her-



&



self beneath the branching tree whose boughs
had sheltered her during so many hours of
her residence here. Her attention was fixed
more upon the miller's wing of the irregular
building before her than upon that occupied
by her mother, for she could not help ex-
pecting every moment to see some one run
out with a wild face and announce some
awful clearing up of the mystery.

Every sound set her on the alert, and
hearing the tread of a horse in the lane she
looked round eagerly. Gazing at her over
the hedge was Festus Derriman, mounted en
such an Incredibly tall animal that he could
see her to her very feet over the thick and
broad thorn fence. She no sooner recoe-
nised him than she withdrew her glance ; but
as his eyes were fixed steadily upon her this
was a futile manoeuvre.



8o THE TRUMPET-MAJOR.

' I saw you look round ! ' he exclaimed
crossly. * What have I done to make you
behave like that ? Come, Miss Garland, be
fair. 'Tis no use to turn your back upon
me.' As she did not turn he went on —
' Well, now, this Is enough to provoke a
saint. Now I tell you what, Miss Garland ;
here I'll stay till you do turn round, if 'tis all
the afternoon. You know my temper — what
I say I mean.' He seated himself firmly in
the saddle, plucked some leaves from the
hedge, and began humming a song, to show
how absolutely indifferent he was to the
flight of time.

'What have you come for, that you are
so anxious to see me ? ' Inquired Anne, when
at last he had wearied her patience, rising
and facing him with the added independence
which came from a sense of the hedge be-
tween them.



THE TRUMPET-MAJOR. 8 I

' There, I knew you would turn round ! '
he said, his hot angry face Invaded by a
smile In which his teeth showed like white
hemmed In by red at chess.

'What do you want, Mr. Derrlman ? '
said she.

' '' What do you want, Mr. Derrlman ? " —
now listen to that! Is that my encourage-
ment ? '

Anne bowed superciliously, and moved
away.

' I have just heard news that explains all
that,' said the giant, eyeing her movements
with somnolent Irascibility. ' My uncle has
been letting things out. He was here late
last night, and he saw you.'

* Indeed he didn't,' said Anne.

' Oh, now ! He saw Trumpet-major Love-
day courting somebody like you in that garden
walk : and when he came you ran Indoors.*

VOL. IT. G



82 THE TRUMPET-MAJOR.

'It is not true, and I wish to hear no
more.'

' Upon my life, he said so ! How can
you do it, Miss Garland, when I, who have
enough money to buy up all the Lovedays,
would gladly come to terms with ye ? What
a simpleton you must be, to pass me over for
him ! There, now you are angry because I
said simpleton ! — I didn't mean simpleton,
I meant misguided — misguided rosebud !
That's it — run off,' he continued in a raised
voice, as Anne made towards the garden
door. 'But I'll have you yet. Much reason
you have to be too proud to stay with me.
But it won't last long ; I shall marry you,
madam, if I choose, as you'll see.'

When he was quite gone, and Anne had
calmed down from the not altogether un-
relished fear and excitement that he always
caused her, she returned to her seat under



THE TRUMPET-MAJOR. 83

the tree, and began to wonder what Festus

Derriman's story meant, which, from the
earnestness of his tone, did not seem Hke a
pure invention. It suddenly flashed upon
her mind that she herself had heard voices in
the garden, and that the persons seen by
Farmer Derriman, of whose visit and re-
clamation of his box the miller had told her,
might have been Matilda and John Loveday.
She further recalled the strange agitation of
Miss Johnson on the preceding evening, and
that it occurred just at the entry of the dra-
goon, till by degrees suspicion amounted to
conviction that he knew more than any one
else supposed of that lady's disappearance.

It was just at this time that the trumpet-
major descended to the mill after his talk
with his brother on the down. As fate
would have it, instead of entering the house
he turned aside to the garden, and walked

G 2



84 THE TRUMPET-MAJOR.

down that pleasant enclosure, to learn If he
were likely to find in the other half of it the
woman he loved so well.

Yes, there she was, sitting on the seat of
logs that he had repaired for her, under the
apple-tree ; but she was not facing in his direc-
tion. He walked with a noisier tread, he
coughed, he shook a bough, he did every-
thing, in short, but the one thing that Festus
did in the same circumstances — call out to
her. He would not have ventured on that
for the world. Any of his signs would have
been sufficient to attract her a day or two
earlier ; now she would not turn. At last, in
his fond anxiety, he did what he had never
done before without an invitation, and
crossed over into Mrs. Garland's half of the
garden, till he stood before her.

When she could not escape him she
arose, and saying, * Good afternoon, trumpet



THE TRUMPET-MAJOR. 85

major,' in a glacial manner unusual with her,
walked away to another part of the garden.

Loveday, quite at a loss, had not the
strength of mind to persevere further. He
had a vague apprehension that some imper-
fect knowledge of the previous night's un-
happy business had reached her ; and,
unable to remedy the evil without telling
more than he dared, he went Into the mill,
where his father still was, looking doleful
enough, what with his concern at events and
the extra quantity of flour upon his face
through sticking so closely to business that
day.

'Well, John ; Bob has told you all, of
course ? A queer, strange, perplexing thing,
isn't it ? I can't make it out at all. There
must be something wrong in the woman, or
it couldn't have happened. I haven't been
so upset for years.'



86 THE TRUMPET-MAJOR.

* Nor have I. I wouldn't it should have
happened for all I own in the world,' said the
dragoon. ' Have you spoke to Anne Gar-
land to-day — or has anybody been talking to
her ? '

' Festus Derriman rode by half an hour
ago, and talked to her over the hedge.'

John guessed the rest, and, after standing
on the threshold in silence awhile, walked
away towards the camp.

All this time his brother Robert had been
hastening along in pursuit of the woman who
had withdrawn from the scene to avoid the
exposure and complete overthrow which
would have resulted had she remained. As
the distance lengthened between himself and
the mill. Bob was conscious of some cooling
down of the excitement that had prompted
him to set out ; but he did not pause in his
walk till he had reached the head of the river



THE TRUMPET-MAJOR. ^'J

which fed the mill-stream. Here, for some
indefinite reason, he allowed his eyes to be
attracted by the bubbling spring whose
waters never failed or lessened, and he
stopped as if to look longer at the scene ; it
was really because his mind was so absorbed
by Johns story.

The sun was warm, the spot was a
pleasant one, and he deposited his bundle
and sat down. By degrees, as he reflected,
first on John's view and then on his own, his
convictions became unsettled ; till at length
he was so balanced between the impulse to go
on and the impulse to go back, that a puff of
wind either way would have been well-nigh
sufficient to decide for him. When he allowed
John's story to repeat itself in his ears, the
reasonableness and good sense of his advice
seemed beyond question. When, on the other
hand, he thought of his poor Matilda's eyes,



88 THE TRUMPET-MAJOR.

and her, to him, pleasant ways, their charming
arrangements to marry, and her probable
willingness still, he could hardly bring him-
self to do otherwise than follow on the road
at the top of his speed.

This strife of thought was so well main-
tained that, sitting and standing, he remained
on the borders of the spring till the shadows
had stretched out eastward, and the chance
of overtaking Matilda had grown consider-
ably less. Still he did not positively go
towards home. At last he took a guinea
from his pocket, and resolved to put the
question to the hazard. ' Heads I go ; tails
I don't' The piece of gold spun in the air
and came down heads.

' No, I won't go, after all,' he said. * I
won't be steered by accidents any more.'

He picked up his bundle and switch, and
retraced his steps towards Overcombe Mill,



THE TRUMPET-MAJOR. 89

knocking down the brambles and nettles as
he went with gloomy and indifferent blows.
When he got within sight of the house he
beheld David in the road.

* All right — all right again, Captain ! '
shouted that retainer. ' A weddino^ after all !
Hurrah ! '

' Ah — she's back again ? ' cried Bob,
seizing David, ecstatically, and dancing
round with him.

* No — but it's all the same ! it is of no
consequence at all, and no harm will be done !
Maister and Mrs. Garland have made up a
match, and mean to marry at once, that the
wedding victuals may not be wasted ! They
felt 'twould be a thousand pities to let such
good things get blue-vinnied for w^ant of a
ceremony to use 'em upon, and at last they
have thought of this.'

' Victuals — I don't care for the victuals !



90 THE TRUMPET-MAJOR.

bitterly cried Bob, in a tone of far higher
thought. ' How you disappoint me ! ' and he
went slowly towards the house.

His father appeared in the opening of
the mill-door, looking more cheerful than
when they had parted. ' What, Robert,
you've been after her ? ' he said. ' Faith,
then, I wouldn't have followed her if I
had been as sure as you were that she
went away in scorn of us. Since you
told me that, I have not looked for her
at all.'

' I was wrong, father,' Bob replied


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