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,soon found that he was not likely to overtake
her. On she went, without turning her head,
till an unusual noise behind compelled her to
look round. His face was in the act of falling
back ; he swerved on one side, and dropped
like a log upon a convenient hedgerow-bank
which bordered the path. There he lay quite
still.

Anne was somewhat alarmed ; and after



THE TRUMPET-MAJOR. 1 83

standing at gaze for two or three minutes,
drew nearer to him, a step and a half at a
time, wondering and doubting, as a meek
ewe draws near to some strolHng vagabond
who flings himself on the grass near the
flock.

* He is in a swoon ! ' she murmured.

Her heart beat quickly, and she looked
around. Nobody was in sight ; she advanced
a step nearer still and observed him again.
Apparently his face w^as turning to a livid
hue, and his breathing had become ob-
structed.

* 'Tis not a swoon ; 'tis apoplexy ! ' she
said, in deep distress. ' I ought to untie his
neck.' But she was afraid to do this, and
only drew a little closer still.

Miss Garland was now within three feet
of him-, whereupon the senseless man, who
could hold his breath no longer, sprang to his



184 THE TRUMPET-MAJOR.

feet and darted at her, saying, * Ha ! ha ! a
scheme for a kiss ! '

She felt his arm slipping round her neck ;
but, twirling about with amazing dexterity,
she wriggled from his embrace and ran away
alonpf the field. The force with which she
had extricated herself was sufficient to throw
Festus upon the grass, and by the time that
he got upon his legs again she was many
yards off. Uttering a word which was not
exactly a blessing, he immediately gave
chase ; and thus they ran till Anne entered
a meadow divided down the middle by a
brook about six feet wide. A narrow plank
was thrown loosely across at the point where
the path traversed this stream, and when
Anne reached it she at once scampered over.
At the other side she turned her head to
gather the probabilities of the situation, which
were that Festus Derriman would overtake



THE TRUMPET-MAJOR. 1 85

her even now. By a sudden forethought she
stooped, seized the end of the plank, and en-
deavoured to drag it away from the opposite
bank. But the weight was too great for her
to do more than shghtly move it, and with a
desperate sigh she ran on again, having lost
many valuable seconds.

But her attempt, though ineffectual in
dragging it down, had been enough to un-
settle the little bridge; and when Derriman
reached the middle, which he did half a
minute later, the plank turned over on its
edge, tilting him bodily into the river. The
water was not remarkably deep, but as the
yeoman fell flat on his stomach he was com-
pletely immersed ; and it was some time
before he could drag himself out. When he
arose, dripping on the bank, and looked round,
Anne had vanished from the mead. Then
Festus's eyes glowed like carbuncles and he



I 86 THE TRUMPET-MAJOR.

gave voice to fearful Imprecations, shaking

his fist in the soft summer air towards Anne,

in a way that was terrible for any maiden to

behold. Wading back through the stream,

he walked along its bank with a heavy tread,

the water running from his coat-tails, wrists,
and the tips of his ears, in silvery dribbles,

that sparkled pleasantly in the sun. Thus
he hastened away, and went round by a by-
path to the hall.

Meanwhile the author of his troubles was
rapidly drawing nearer to the mill, and soon,
to her inexpressible delight, she saw Bob
coming to meet her. She had heard the
flounce, and, feeling more secure from her
pursuer, had dropped her pace to a quick
walk. No sooner did she reach Bob than,
overcome by the excitement of the moment,
she flung herself into his arms. Bob instantly
enclosed her in an embrace so very thorough



THE TRUMPET-MAJOR. I 87

that there was no possible danger of her fall-
ing, whatever degree of exhaustion might
have given rise to her somewhat unexpected
action ; and in this attitude they silently
remained, till it was borne in upon Anne
that the present was the first time in her life
that she had ever been in such a position.
Her face then burnt like a sunset, and she
did not know how to look up at him. Feel-
ing at length quite safe, she suddenly resolved
not to give way to her first impulse to tell
him the whole of what had happened, lest
there should be a dreadful quarrel and fight
between Bob and the yeoman, and great
difficulties caused in the Loveday family on
her account, the miller having important
wheat transactions with the Derrimans.

' You seem frightened, dearest Anne,'
said Bob tenderly.

* Yes,' she replied. ' I saw a man I did



I 88 THE TRUMPET-MAJOR.

not like the look of, and he was Inclined to
follow me. But, worse than that, I am
troubled about the French. O Bob ! I am
afraid you will be killed, and my mother,
and John, and your father, and all of us
hunted down ! '

* Now I have told you, dear little heart,
that it cannot be. We shall drive 'em into the
sea after a battle or two, even if they land,
which I don't believe they will. We've got
ninety sail of the line, and though it is rather
unfortunate that we should have declared
war against Spain at this ticklish time, there's
enough for all' And Bob went into elabo-
rate statistics of the navy, army, militia, and
volunteers, to prolong the time of holding

her. When he had done speaking he drew
rather a heavy sigh.

' What's the matter. Bob ? '

' I haven't been yet to offer myself as a



THE TRUMPET-MAJOR. I 89

sea-fencible, and I ought to have done it long
ago!'

' You are only one. Surely they can do
without you ? '

Bob shook his head. She arose from her
restful position, her eye catching his with a
shamefaced expression of having given way
at last. Loveday drew from his pocket a
paper, and said, as they slowly walked on,
' Here's something to make us brave and
patriotic. I bought it in Weymouth. Is it
not a stirring picture ? '

It was a hieroglyphic profile of Napoleon.
The hat represented a maimed French
eagle ; the face was ingeniously made up of
human carcases, knotted and writhing to-
gether In such directions as to form a
physiognomy ; a band, or stock, shaped to
resemble the English Channel, encircled his
throat, and seemed to choke him ; his



I go THE TRUMPET-MAJOR.

epaulette was a hand tearing a cobweb that
represented the treaty of peace with Eng-
land ; and his ear was a woman crouching
over a dying child.

* It is dreadful ! ' said Anne. ' I don't
like to see it.'

She had recovered from her emotion, and
walked along beside him with a grave, sub-
dued face. Bob did not like to assume the
privileges of an accepted lover and draw her
hand through his arm ; for, conscious that she
naturally belonged to a politer grade than
his own, he feared least her exhibition of
tenderness were an impulse which cooler
moments might regret. A perfect Paul-and-
Virginia life had not absolutely set in for him
as yet, and it was not to be hastened by
force. When they had passed over the
bridge Into the mill-front they saw the miller
standing at the door with a face of concern.



THE TRUMPET-MAJOR. I9I

' Since you have been gone,' he said, ' a
Government man has been here, and to all
the houses, taking down the numbers of the
women and children, and their ages, and the
number of horses and waggons that can be
mustered, in case they have to retreat inland,
out of the way of the invading army.'

The little family gathered themselves to-
gether, all feeling the crisis more seriously
than they liked to express. ^Irs. Loveday
thought how ridiculous a thing social ambi-
tion was in such a conjuncture as this, and
vowed that she would leave Arme to love
where she would. Anne, too, forgot the
little peculiarities of speech and manner in
Bob and his father, which sometimes jarred
for a moment upon her more refined sense,
and was thankful for their love and protection
in this loomincr trouble.

CD

On going upstairs she remembered the



192 THE TRUMPET-MAJCR.

paper which Farmer Derrlman had given her,
and searched in her bosom for it. She could
not find it there. ' I must have left it on
the table,' she said to herself It did not
matter ; she remembered every word. She
took a pen and wrote a duplicate, which she
put safely away.

But Anne was wrong. She had, after
all, placed the paper where she supposed,
and there it ought to have been. But in
escaping from Festus, when he feigned
apoplexy, it had fallen out upon the grass.
Five minutes after that event, when pursuer
and pursued were two or three fields ahead,
the gaily dressed woman whom the yeoman
had overtaken peeped cautiously through
the stile into the corner of the field which
had been the scene of the scramble ; and
seeing the paper she climbed over, secured it,
loosened the wafer without tearing the sheet,



THE TRUMPET-MAJOR. I 93

and read the memorandum within. Un-
able to make anything of Its meaning, the
saunterer put It In her pocket, and, dismissing
the matter from her mind, went on by the
by-path which led to the back of the mill.
Here, behind the hedge, she stood and sur-
veyed the old building for some time, after
which she meditatively turned and retraced
her steps towards Weymouth.



\j



VOL. II.



194 THE TRUMPET-MAJOR.



CHAPTER XXVI.



THE ALARM.



The niofht which followed was historic and
memorable. Mrs. Loveday was awakened
by the boom of a distant gun : she told
the miller, and they listened awhile. The
sound was not repeated, but such was the
state of their feelings that Mr. Loveday went
to Bob's room and asked if he had heard it.
Bob was wide awake, looking out of the
window ; he had heard the ominous sound,
and was inclined to investigate the matter.
While the father and son were dressing
they fancied that a glare seemed to be rising
in the sky in the direction of the beacon hill.



THE TRUMPET-MAJOR. 1 95

Not wishing to alarm Anne and her mother,
the miller assured them that Bob and himself
were merely going out of doors to inquire
into the cause of the report, after which they
plunged into the gloom together. A few
steps' progress opened up more of the sky,
which, as they had thought, was indeed
irradiated by a lurid light ; but whether it
came from the beacon or from a more distant
point they were unable to clearly tell.
They pushed on rapidly towards higher
ground.

Their excitement was merely of a piece
with that of all men at this critical juncture.
Everywhere expectation was at fever heat.
For the last year or two only five-and-twenty
miles of shallow water had divided quiet
English homesteads from an enemy's army
of a hundred and fifty thousand men. We
had taken the matter lightly enough, eating



o 2



196 THE TRUMPET-MAJOR.

and drinking as In the days of Noe, and
singing satires without end. We punned on
Bonaparte and his gunboats, chalked his
effigy on stage-coaches, and pubHshed the
same In prints. Still, between these bursts
of hilarity, it was sometimes recollected that
England was the only European country
which had not succumbed to the mighty
little man who was less than human In
feeling, and more than human In will ; that
our spirit for resistance was greater than our
strength ; and that the Channel was often
calm. Boats built of wood which was greenly
growing in its native forest three days before
it was bent as wales to their sides, were ridi-
culous enough ; but they might be, after all,
sufficient for a single trip between two visible
shores.

The English watched Bonaparte in these
preparations, and Bonaparte watched the



THE TRUMPET-MAJOR. I 97

English. At the distance of Boulogne
details were lost, but we were impressed on
fine days by the novel sight of a huge army
moving and twinkling like a school of
mackerel under the rays of the sun. The
regular way of passing an afternoon in the
coast towns was to stroll up to the signal
posts and chat with the lieutenant on duty
there about the latest inimical object seen at
sea. About once a week there appeared
in the newspapers either a paragraph con-
cerning some adventurous English gentleman
who had sailed out in a pleasure-boat till he
lay near enough to Boulogne to see Bona-
parte standing on the heights among his
marshals ; or else some lines about a mys-
terious stranger with a foreign accent,
who, after collecting a vast deal of in-
formation on our resources, had hired a
boat at a southern port, and vanished with it



198 THE TRUMPET-MAJOR.

towards France before his intention could be
divined.

In forecasting his grand venture, Bona-
parte postulated the help of Providence to a
remarkable degree. Just at the hour when
his troops were on board the flat- bottomed
boats and ready to sail, there was to be a
great fog, that should spread a vast obscurity
over the length and breadth of the Channel,
and keep the English blind to events on the
other side. The fog was to last twenty-four
hours, after which it might clear away. A
dead calm was to prevail simultaneously with
the fog, with the twofold object of affording
the boats easy transit and dooming our ships
to lie motionless. Thirdly, there was to be
a spring tide, which should combine its
manoeuvres with those of the fog and calm.

Among the many thousands of minor
Englishmen whose lives were affected by



THE TRUMPET-MAJOR. 1 99

these tremendous designs may be numbered
our old acquaintance Corporal Tullidge, who
sported the crushed arm, and poor old Simon
Burden, the dazed veteran who had fought at
Minden. Instead of sitting comfortably in
the settle of the Duke of York, at Over-
combe, they were obliged to keep watch on
the hill. They made themselves as comfort-
able as was possible under the circumstances,
dwelling in a hut of clods and turf, with a
brick chimney for cooking. Here they ob-
served the nightly progress of the moon and
stars, grew familiar with the heaving of moles,
the dancing of rabbits on the hillocks, the
distant hoot of owls, the bark of foxes from
woods farther inland ; but saw not a sign o(
the enemy. As, night after night, they
walked round the two ricks which it was
their duty to fire at a signal — one being of
furze for a quick flame, the other of turf, for



20O THE TRUMPET-MAJOR.

a long, slow radiance — they thought and
talked of old times, and drank patriotically
from a large wood flagon that was filled
every day.

Bob and his father soon became aware
that the light was from the beacon. By the
time that they reached the top it was one
mass of towering flame, from which the sparks
fell on the green herbage like a fiery dew ;
the forms of the two old men being seen
passing and repassing in the midst of it. The
Lovedays, who came up on the smoky side,
regarded the scene for a moment, and then
emerged into the light.

' Who goes there ? ' said Corporal Tul-
lidge, shouldering a pike with his sound arm.
' Oh, 'tis neighbour Loveday ! '

* Did you get your signal to fire it from
the east ? ' said the miller, hastily.

* No ; from Abbotsbury Beach.'



THE TRUMPET-MAJOR. 20T

' But you are not to go by a coast
siofnal ! '

' Chok' It all, wasn't the Lord Lieutenant's
direction, whenever you see Reignbarrows
Beacon burn to the nor'east'ard, or Eggerdon
to the nor'west ard, or the actual presence of
the enemy on the shore ? '

' But is he here ? '

' No doubt o't ! The beach light is only
just gone down, and Simon heard the guns
even better than L'

* Hark, hark ! I hear 'em ! ' said Bob.

They listened with parted lips, the night
wind blowins: throuQ^h Simon Burden's few
teeth as through the ruins of Stonehenge.
From far down on the lower levels came the
noise of wheels and the tramp of horses upon
the turnpike road.

' Well, there must be something in It,'
said ^liller Loveday gravely. ' Bob, we'll



202 THE TRUMPET-MAJOR.

go home and make the women-folk safe, and
then I'll don my soldiers clothes and be off.
God knows where our company will as-
semble.'

They hastened down the hill, and on get-
ting into the road waited and listened again.
Travellers began to come up and pass them
in vehicles of all descriptions. It was difficult
to attract their attention in the dim light, but
by standing on the top of a wall which fenced
the road Bob was at last seen.

* What's the matter ? ' he cried to a but-
cher who was flying past in his cart, his wife
sitting behind him without a bonnet.

' The French have landed,' said the man,
without drawing rein.

* Where ? ' shouted Bob.

' In West Bay ; and all Weymouth is in
uproar,' replied the voice, now faint in the
distance.



THE TRUMPET-MAJOR. 203

Bob and his father hastened on till they
reached their own house. As they had ex-
pected, Anne and her mother, in common
with most of the people, were both dressed,
and stood at the door bonneted and shawled,
listeninor to the traffic on the neio^hbourinof
highway, Mrs. Loveday having secured what
money and small valuables they possessed in
a huge pocket which extended all round her
waist, and added considerably to her weight
and diameter.

*'Tis true enough,' said the miller: 'he's
come. You and Anne and the maid must be
off to Cousin Jim's at Bere, and when you get
there you must do as they do. I must as-
semble with the company.'

' And I ? ' said Bob.

* Thou'st better run to the church, and
take a pike before they be all gone.'

The horse was put into the gig, aand Mrs.



204 THE TRUMPET-MAJOR.

Loveday, Anne, and the servant-maid were
hastily packed into the vehicle, the latter
taking the reins ; David's duties as a fighting-
man forbidding all thought of his domestic
offices now. Then the silver tankard, tea-pot,
pair of candlesticks like Ionic columns, and
other articles too large to be pocketed were
thrown into a basket and put up behind.
Then came the leave-taking, which was as
sad as it was hurried. Bob kissed Anne, and
there was no affectation In her receiving that
mark of affection as she said through her
tears, ' God bless you.' At last they moved
off In the dim light of dawn, neither of the
three women knowing which road they were
to take, but trusting to chance to find it.

As soon as they were out of sight Bob
went off for a pike, and his father, first new-
flinting his fire-lock, proceeded to don his
uniform, pipe-claying his breeches with such



THE TRUMPET-MAJOR. 205

cursory haste as to bespatter his black-gaiters
with the same ornamental compound. Find-
ing when he was ready that no bugle had as
yet sounded, he went with David to the cart-
house, dragged out the waggon, and put
therein some of the most useful and easily-
handled goods, in case there might be an
opportunity for conveying them away. By
the time this was done and the waofi2:on
pushed back and locked in, Bob had returned
with his weapon, somewhat mortified at being
doomed to this low form of defence. The
miller gave his son a parting grasp of the
hand, and arranged to meet him at Bere at
the first opportunity if the news were true ;
if happily false, here at their own house.

' Bother it all ! ' he exclaimed, looking at
his stock of flints.

' What ? ' said Bob.

* I have got no ammunition : not a round ! '



2o6 THE TRUMPET-MAJOR.

* Then what's the use of going ? ' asked
his son.

The miller paused. ' Oh, I'll go,' he said.
' Perhaps somebody will lend me a little if I
get into a hot corner ? '

* Lend ye a little ! Father, you was
always so simple ! ' said Bob, reproachfully.

The bugle had been blown ere this, and
Loveday the father disappeared towards the
place of assembly, his empty cartridge-box
behind him. Bob seized a brace of loaded
pistols which he had brought home from the
ship, and, armed with these and the pike, he
locked the door and sallied out again towards
the turnpike road.

By this time the yeomanry of the district
were also on the move, and among them
Festus Derriman, who was sleeping at his
uncle's, and had been awakened by Cripple-
straw. About the time when Bob and his



THE TRUxMPET-MAJOR. 20/

father were descending from the beacon the
stalwart yeoman was standing in the stable-
yard adjusting his straps, while Cripplestraw
saddled the horse. Festus clanked up and
down, looked gloomily at the beacon, heard
the retreating carts and carriages, and called
Cripplestraw to him, who came from the
stable leading the horse at the same moment
that Uncle Benjy peeped unobserved from an
oriel window above their heads, the light of
the beacon fire touching up his features to
the complexion of an old brass clock-face.

* I think that before I start, Cripplestraw,'
said Festus, whose lurid visage was under-
going a bleaching process curious to look
upon, ' you shall go on to Weymouth, and
make a bold inquiry whether the cowardly
enemy is on shore as yet, or only looming In
the bay.'

* I'd go In a moment, sir,' said the other,



2o8 THE TRUMPET-MAJOR.

* if I hadn't my bad leg again. I should
have joined my company afore this ; but
they said at last drill that I was too old. So
I shall wait up in the hay-loft for tidings as
soon as I have packed you off, poor gentle-
man ! '

' Do such alarms as these, Cripplestraw,
ever happen without foundation ? Bona-
parte is a wretch, a miserable wretch, and
this may be only a false alarm to disappoint
such as me.'

* Oh no, sir ; oh no.'

' But sometimes there are false alarms.'
' Well, sir, yes. There was a pretended
sally of gun-boats last year.'

* And was there nothing else pretended —
something more like this, for instance ? '

Cripplestraw shook his head. ' I notice
yer modesty, Mr. Festus, in making light of
things. But there never was, sir. You may



THE TRUMPET-MAJOR. 209

depend upon it he's come. Thank God, my
duty as a Local don't require me to go to the
front, but only the valiant men like my master.
Ah, if Boney could only see ye now, sir, he'd
know too well that there is nothing to be got
from such a determined skilful officer but
blows and musket-balls ! '

* Yes, yes Cripplestraw, if I ride off

to Weymouth and meet 'em, all my training
will be lost. No skill is required as a forlorn

hope.'

* True ; that's a point, sir. You would
outshine 'em all, and be picked off at the
very beginning as a too-dangerous brave
man.'

' But if I stay here and urge on the faint-
hearted ones, or get up into the turret-stair
by that gateway, and pop at the invaders
through the loophole, I shouldn't be so com-
pletely wasted, should I ? '

VOL. II. P



2IO THE TRUMPET-MAJOR.

' You would not, Mr. Derriman. But,
as you was going to say next, the fire In
yer veins won't let ye do that. You are
vahant ; very good : you don't want to
husband yer valiance at home. The thing is
plain.'

' If my birth had been more obscure,'
murmured the yeoman, ' and I had only
been in the militia, for instance, or among
the humble pikemen, so much wouldn't have

been expected of me — of my fiery nature

Cripplestraw, is there a drop of brandy to be
got at in the house ? I don't feel very
well.'

* Dear nephew,' said the old gentleman
from above, whom neither of the others had
as yet noticed, ' I haven't any spirits opened —
so unfortunate ! But there's a beautiful barrel
of crab-apple cider in draught ; and there's
some cold tea from last night'



THE TRUMPET-MAJOR. 2 I 1

* What, is he listening ? ' said Festus,
staring up. * Now I warrant how glad he is
to see me forced to go— called out of bed
without breakfast, and he quite safe, and

sure to escape because he's an old man !

Cripplestraw, I like being in the yeomanry
cavalry ; but I wish I hadn't been in the
ranks ; I wish I had been only the surgeon,
to stay in the rear while the bodies are
brought back to him — I mean, I should have
thrown my heart at such a time as this more
into the labour of restoring wounded men
and joining their shattered limbs together —
u-u-ugh ! — more than I can into causing the

wounds I am too humane, Cripplestraw,

for the ranks ! '

* Yes, yes,' said his companion, depressing
his spirits to a kindred level. 'And yet,
such is fate, that, instead of joining men's
limbs together, you'll have to get your own

P 2



212 THE TRUMPET-MAJOR.

joined — poor young soldier ! — all through

havino- such a warlike soul/
«_>

* Yes,' murmured Festus, and paused.
' You can't think how strange I feel here,
Cripplestraw,' he continued, laying his hand
upon the centre buttons of his waistcoat.
* How I do wish I was only the surgeon ! '

He slowly mounted, and Uncle Benjy, in
the meantime, sang to himself as he looked


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