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on, * Twen-ty-three aiid half from N. W.
Six-teen and tkree-qtcar-ters from N.E.^

' What's that old mummy singing ? ' said
Festus savagely.

' Only a hymn for preservation from our
enemies, dear nephew,' meekly replied the
farmer, who had heard the remark. * Twen-ty-
three and half from N. W!

Festus allowed his horse to move on a
few paces, and then turned again, as If struck
by a happy invention. ' Cripplestraw,' he


began, with an artificial laugh, ' I am obliged
to confess, after all — I' must see her ! 'Tisn t
nature that makes me draw back — 'tis love.
I must go and look for her.'

* A woman, sir ? '

* I didn't want to confess it ; but 'tis a
woman. Strangle that I should be drawn
so entirely against my natural wish to rush
at 'em ! '

Cripplestraw, seeing which way the wind
blew, found it advisable to blow in harmony.
' Ah, now at last I see, sir ! Spite that few
men live that be worthy to command ye ;
spite that you could rush on, marshal the
troops to victory, as I may say ; but then —
what of it ? — there's the unhappy fate of
being smit with the eyes of a woman, and

you are unmanned jNIaister Derriman,

who is himself when he's got a woman round
his neck like" a millstone ? '


* It is somethino: like that'

* I feel the case. Be you valiant ? — I
know, of course, the words being a matter
of form — be you valiant, I ask ? Yes, of
course. Then don't you waste it in the open
field. Hoard it up, I say, sir, for a higher
class of war — the defence of yer adorable
lady. Think what you owe her at this
terrible time ! Now, Maister Derriman,
once more I ask ye to cast off that first
haughty wish to rush to Weymouth, and to
go where your mis'ess is defenceless and

* I will, Cripplestraw, now you put it like
that ! '

* Thank ye, thank ye heartily, Maister
Derriman. Go now, and hide with her.'

* But can I ? Now, hang flattery ! — can a
man hide without a stain ? Of course I
would not hide in any mean sense; no, not I !'


* If you be In love, 'tis plain you
may, since it is not your own life, but an-
other's, that you are concerned for, and
you only save your own because It can't be

* 'Tis true. Cripples traw, in a sense. But
will It be understood that way ? Will they
see it as a brave hiding ? '

' Now, sir, if you had not been in love I
own to ye that hiding would look queer, but
being to save the tears, groans, fits, swownd-
Ings, and perhaps death of a comely young
woman, yer principle Is good ; you honour-
ably retreat because you be too gallant to
advance. This sounds strange, ye may say,
sir ; but it Is plain enough to less fiery

Festus did for a moment try to uncover
his teeth in a natural smile, but it died away.
' Cripplestraw, you flatter me ; or do you


mean it ? Well, there's truth in it. I am
more gallant in going to her than in march-
ing to the shore. But we cannot be too
careful about our good names, we soldiers.
I must not be seen. I'm off.'

Cripplestraw opened the hurdle which
closed the arch under the portico gateway,
and Festus passed under, Uncle Benjamin
singing, Twen-ty-three and a half from N. W,
with a sort of sublime ecstasy, feeling,
as Festus had observed, that his money was
safe, and that the French would not per-
sonally molest an old man in such a ragged,
mildewed coat as that he wore, which he
had taken the precaution to borrow from
a scarecrow in one of his fields for the pur-

Festus rode on full of his intention to
seek out Anne, and under cover of protecting
her retreat accompany her to Bere, where he


knew the Lovedays had relatives. In the
lane he met Granny Seamore, who, having
packed up all her possessions in a small
basket, was placidly retreating to the moun-
tains till all should be over.

* Well, Granny, have ye seen the French ? '
asked Festus.

* No,' she said, looking up at him through
her brazen spectacles. * If I had I shouldn't
ha' seed thee ! '

* Faugh ! ' replied the yeoman, and rode
on. Just as he reached the old road, which
he had Intended merely to cross and avoid,
his countenance fell. Some troops of regulars,
who appeared to be dragoons, were rattling
along the road. Festus hastened towards an
opposite gate, so as to get within the field
before they should see him ; but, as Ill-kick
would have it, as soon as he got Inside, a
party of six or seven of his own yeomanry


troop were straggling across the same field
and making for the spot where he was. The
dragoons passed without seeing him ; but
when he turned out into the road again it
was impossible to retreat towards Overcombe
village because of the yeomen. So he rode
straight on, and heard them coming at his
heels. There was no other gate, and the
highway soon became as straight as a bow-
string. Unable thus to turn without meeting
them, and caught like an eel in a water-pipe,
Festus drew nearer and nearer to the fateful
shore. But he did not relinquish hope.
Just ahead there were cross-roads, and he
might have a chance of slipping down one of
them without being seen. On reaching this
spot he found that he was not alone. A
horseman had come up the right-hand lane
and drawn rein. It was an officer of the
German legion, and seeing Festus he held


up his hand. Festus rode up to him and

' It ist false report ! ' said the officer.

Festus was a man again. He felt that
nothing was too much for him. The officer,
after some explanation of the cause of alarm,
said that he was going across to the road
which led by Lodmoor, to stop the troops
and volunteers converging from that direc-
tion, upon which Festus offered to give in-
formation along the Broadway road. The
German crossed over, and was soon out of
sight in the lane, while Festus turned back
upon the way by which he had come. The
party of yeomanry cavalry was rapidly draw-
ing near, and he soon recognised among
them the excited voices of Stubb of Duddle
Hole, Noakes of Muckleford, and other
comrades of his orgies at the Hall. It was a
magnificent opportunity, and Festus drew his


sword. When they were within speaking
distance he reigned round his charger's
head to Weymouth and shouted, * On, com-
rades, on ! I am waiting for you. You
have been a long time getting up with me,
seeing the glorious nature of our deeds to-

' Well said, Derriman, well said,' replied
the foremost of the riders. ' Have you heard
anything new ? '

* Only that he's here with his tens of
thousands, and that we are to ride to meet
him sword in hand as soon as we have
assembled in Weymouth.'

* Oh, Lord ! ' said Noakes, with a slieht
falling of the lower jaw.

* The man who quails now is unworthy
of the name of yeoman,' said Festus, still
keeping ahead of the other troopers and
holding up his sword to the sun. * Oh,


Noakes, fye, fye ! You begin to look pale,

* Faith, perhaps you'd look pale,' said
Noakes, with an envious glance upon Festus's
daring manner, ' if you had a wife and family
depending upon ye.'

* ril take three frog-eating Frenchmen
single-handed ! ' rejoined Derriman, still
flourishing his sword.

* They have as good swords as you ;
as you will soon find,' said another of the

* If they were three times armed,' said
Festus — 'ay, thrice three times — I would
attempt 'em three to one. How do you
feel now, my old friend Stubb ? ' (turning
to another of the warriors). ' Oh, friend
Stubb ! no bouncing healths to our lady-
loves in Overcombe Hall this summer as last.
Eh, Brownjohn ?'


' I am afraid not,' said Brownjohn

* No rattling dinners at Stacie's Hotel,
and the King below with his staff. No
wrenching off door-knockers and sending 'em
to the bakehouse in a pie that nobody calls
for. Weeks of cut-and-thrust work rather ! '

* I suppose so.*

' Fight how we may we shan't get rid of
the cursed tyrant before autumn, and many
thousand brave men will lie low before it's
done,' remarked a young yeoman with a calm
face, who meant to do his duty without much

* No grinning matches at Maiden Castle
this summer,' Festus resumed ; ' no thread-
the-needle at Greenhill Fair, and going into
shows and driving the showman crazy with
cock-a-doodle-doo ! '

' I suppose not'


* Does it make you seem just a trifle
uncomfortable, Noakes ? Keep up your
spirits, old comrade. Come, forward ! we
are only ambling on like so many donkey-
women. We have to get into Weymouth,
join the rest of the troop, and then march
Abbotsbury way, as I imagine. At this rate
we shan't be well into the thick of battle
before twelve o'clock. Spur on, comrades.
No dancing on the green, Lockham, this
year in the moonlight ! You was tender
upon that girl ; gad, what will become o' her
in the struggle } '

' Come, come, Derriman,' expostulated
Lockham — ' this is all very well, but I don't
care for 't. I am as ready to fight as any
man, but '

* Perhaps when you get into battle, Derri-
man, and see what it's like, your courage will
cool down a litde,' added Noakes on the same


side, but with secret admiration of Festus's
reckless bravery.

' I shall be bayoneted first,' said Festus.
* Now let's rally, and on.'

Since Festus was determined to spur on
wildly, the rest of the yeomen did not like
to seem behindhand, and they rapidly ap-
proached the town. Had they been calm
enough to reflect, they might have observed
that for the last half hour no carts or car-
riages had met them on the way, as they had
done farther back. It was not till the
troopers reached the turnpike that they
learnt what Festus had known a quarter of
an hour before. At the intelligence Derriman
sheathed his sword with a sigh ; and the
party soon fell in with comrades who had
arrived there before them, whereupon the
source and details of the alarm were boister-
ously discussed.


' What, didn't you know of the mistake
till now ? ' asked one of these of the new-
comers. * Why, when I was dropping over
the hill by the cross-roads I looked back and
saw that man talking to the messenger, and
he must have told him the truth/ The
speaker pointed to Festus. They turned
their indignant eyes full upon him. That he
had sported with their deepest feelings, while
knowing the rumour to be baseless, was soon
apparent to all.

' Beat him black and blue with the flat of
our blades ! ' shouted two or three, turninof
their horses' heads to drop back upon Derrl-
man. In which move they were followed by
most of the party.

But Festus, foreseeing danger from the
unexpected revelation, had already judi-
ciously placed a few intervening yards
between himself and his fellow yeomen, and

VOL, TT. . Q


now, clapping spurs to his horse, rattled like
thunder and lightning up the road home-
ward. His ready flight added hotness to
their pursuit, and as he rode and looked
fearfully over his shoulder he could see them
following with enraged faces and drawn
swords, a position which they kept up for a
distance of more than a mile. Then he had
the satisfaction of seeing them drop off one
by one, and soon he and his panting charger
remained alone on the highway.




He Stopped and reflected how to turn this
rebuff to advantage. Baulked In his project
of entering Weymouth and enjoying con-
gratulations upon his patriotic bearing during
the advance, he sulkily considered that he
might be able to make some use of his en-
forced retirement by riding to Overcombe
and glorifying himself in the eyes of Miss
Garland before the truth should have
reached that hamlet. Having thus decided
he spurred on In a better mood.

By this time the volunteers were on the
march, and as Derriman ascended the road

y 2


he met the Overcombe company, In which
trudged Miller Loveday shoulder to shoulder
with the other substantial householders of the
place and its neighbourhood, duly equipped
with pouches, cross-belts, firelocks, flint-
boxes, pickers, worms, magazines, priming-
horns, heel-ball, and pomatum. There was
nothing to be gained by further suppression
of the truth, and briefly informing them that
the danger was not so immediate as had
been supposed, Festus galloped on. At the
end of another mile he met a large number
of pikemen, including Bob Loveday, whom
the yeoman resolved to sound upon the
whereabouts of Anne. The circumstances
were such as to lead Bob to speak more
frankly than he might have done on reflec-
tion, and he told Festus the direction in
which the women had been sent. Then
Festus informed the group that the report of


invasion was false, upon which they all
turned to go homeward with greatly relieved

Bob walked beside Derriman's horse for
some distance. Loveday had instantly made
up his mind to go and look for the women,
and ease their anxiety by letting them know
the good news as soon as possible. But he
said nothing of this to Festus during their
return together ; nor did Festus tell Bob
that he also had resolved to seek them out,
and by anticipating every one else in that
enterprise, make of it a glorious opportunity
for bringing Miss Garland to her senses
about him. He still resented the ducking
that he had received at her hands, and was
not disposed to let that insult pass without
obtaining some sort of sweet revenge.

As soon as they had parted Festus can-
tered on over the hill, meeting on his way


the Puddletown volunteers, sixty rank and
file, under Captain Cunningham ; the Dor-
chester company, ninety strong (known as
the ' Consideration Company ' in those days),
under Captain Strickland ; and others — all
with anxious faces and covered with dust.
Just passing the word to them and leaving
them at halt, he proceeded rapidly onward in
the direction of Bere. Nobody appeared on
the road for some time, till after a ride of

several miles he met a stray corporal of
volunteers, who told Festus in answer to his
inquiry that he had certainly passed no gig
full of women of the kind described. Believ-
ing that he had missed them by following

the highway, Derriman turned back into a
lane along which they might have chosen to
journey for privacy's sake, notwithstanding
the badness and uncertainty of its track.
Arrivinof as^ain within five miles of Over-


combe, he at length heard tidings of the
wandering vehicle and its precious burden,
which, like the Ark when sent away from the
country of the Philistines, had apparently
been left to the instincts of the beast that
drew it. A labouring man, just at daybreak,
had seen the helpless party going slowly up
a distant drive, which he pointed out.

No sooner ' had Festus parted from this
informant than he beheld Bob approaching,
mounted on the miller's second and heavier
horse. Bob looked rather surprised, and
Festus felt his coming glory In danger.

' They went down that lane/ he said,
signifying precisely the opposite direction to
the true one. ' I, too, have been on the look
out for missing friends.'

As Festus was ridinof back there was no

reason to doubt his information, and Loveday
rode on as misdirected. Immediately that


he was out of sight Festus reversed his
course, and followed the track which Anne
and her companions were last seen to pursue.
This road had been ascended by the gig
in question nearly tw^o hours before the pre-
sent moment. Molly, the servant, held the
reins, Mrs. Loveday sat beside her, and
Anne behind. Their progress was but slow,
owing partly to Molly's waht of skill, and
partly to the steepness of the road, which
here passed over downs of some extent, and
was rarely or never mended. It was an
anxious morning for them all, and the
beauties of the early summer day fell upon
unheeding eyes. They were too anxious
even for conjecture, and each sat thinking
her own thoughts, occasionally glancing west-
ward, or stopping the horse to listen to
sounds from more frequented roads along
which other parties were retreating. Once,


while they Hstened and gazed thus, they saw
a glittering in the distance, and heard the
tramp of many horses. It was a large body
of cavalry going in the direction of Wey-
mouth, the same regiment of dragoons, In
fact, which Festus had seen farther on in its
course. The women In the gig had no doubt
that these men were marching at once to
engage the enemy. By way of varying the
monotony of the journey, Molly occasionally
burst into tears of horror, believing Bona-
parte to be In countenance and habits precisely
what the caricatures represented him. Mrs.
Loveday endeavoured to establish cheerful-
ness by assuring her companions of the
natural civility of the French nation, with
whom unprotected women were safe from
injury, unless through the casual excesses of
soldiery beyond control. This was poor con-
solation to Anne, whose mind was more


occupied with Bob than with herself, and a
miserable fear that she would never again see
him alive so paled her face and saddened her
gaze forward, that at last her mother said,
* Who was you thinking of, my dear ? '
Anne's only reply was a look at her mother,
with which a tear mingled.

Molly whipped the horse, by which she
quickened his pace for five yards, when he
again fell into the perverse slowness that
showed how fully conscious he was of being
the master-mind and head individual of the
four. Whenever there was a pool of water
by the road he turned aside to drink a
mouthful, and remained there his own time
in spite of Molly's tug at the reins and futile
fly-flapping on his buttocks. They were now
in the chalk district, where there were no
hedges, and a rough attempt at mending the
way had been made by throwing down huge


lumps of that glaring material In heaps,
without troubling to spread it or break them
abroad. The jolting here was most distress-
ing, and seemed about to snap the springs.

' How that wheel do wamble,' said Molly
at last. She had scarcely spoken when the
wheel came off, and all three were precipi-
tated over it into the road.

Fortunately the horse stood still, and they
began to gather themselves up. The only
one of the three who had suffered In the
least from the fall was Anne, and she was
only conscious of a severe shaking which had
half stupefied her for the time. The wheel
lay flat in the road, so that there was no
possibility of driving farther in their present
plight. They looked around for help. The
only friendly object near was a lonely cottage,
from its situation evidently the home of a


The horse was unharnessed and tied to
the back of the gig, and the three women
went across to the house. On getting close
they found that the shutters of all the lower
windows were closed, but on trying the door
it opened to the hand. Nobody was within ;
the house appeared to have been abandoned
in some confusion, and the probability was
that the shepherd had fled on hearing the
alarm. Anne now said that she felt the
effects of her fall too severely to be able to
go any farther just then, and it was agreed
that she should be left there while Mrs.
Loveday and Molly went on for assistance,
the elder lady deeming Molly too young and
vacant-minded to be trusted to go alone.
Molly suggested taking the horse, as the dis-
tance might be great, each of them sitting
alternately on his back while the other led
him by the head. This they did, Anne


watching them vanish down the white and
lumpy road.

She then looked round the room, as well
as she could do so by the light from the open
door. It was plain, from the shutters being
closed, that the shepherd had left his house
before daylight, the candle and extinguisher
on the table pointing to the same conclusion.
Here she remained, her eyes occasionally
sweeping the bare, sunny expanse of down,
that was only relieved from absolute empti-
ness by the overturned gig hard by. The
sheep seemed to have gone away, and
scarcely a bird flew across to disturb the
solitude. Anne had risen early that morning,
and leaning back in the with)' chair, which
she had placed by the door, she soon fell into
an uneasy doze, from which she was
awakened by the distant tramp of a horse.
Feeling much recovered from the effects of the


overturn, she eagerly rose and looked out.
The horse was not Miller Loveday's, but a
powerful bay, bearing a man in full yeomanry

Anne did not wait to recognise further ;
instantly re-entering the house, she shut the
door and bolted it. In the dark she sat and
listened : not a sound. At the end of ten
minutes, thinking that the rider if he were
not Festus had carelessly passed by, or that
if he were Festus he had not seen her, she
crept softly upstairs and peeped out of the
window. Excepting the spot of shade,
formed by the gig as before, the down was
quite bare. She then opened the casement
and stretched out her neck.

' Ha, young madam ! There you are ! I
knew ye ! Now you are caught ! ' came like
a clap of thunder from a point three or four
feet beneath her, and turning down her


frightened eyes she beheld Festus Derrlman
lurklne close to the wall. His attention had
first been attracted bv her shiittinGT the door
of the cottage ; then by the overturned gig ;
and after makino: sure, bv examinino: the
vehicle, that he was not mistaken in her
Identity, he had dismounted, led his horse
round to the side, and crept up to entrap

Anne started back into the room, and re-
mained still as a stone. Festus went on —
* Come, you must trust to me. The French
have landed. I have been trying to meet
with you every hour since that confounded
trick you played me. You threw me into
the water. Faith, it was well for you I
didn't catch ye then ! I should have taken a
revenge in a better way than I shall now.
I mean to have that kiss of ye. Come, Miss
Nancy ; do you hear ? — 'Tis no use for you


to lurk inside there. You'll have to turn out
as soon as Boney comes over the hill. — Are
you going to open the door, I say, and speak
to me in a civil way ? What do you think I
am, then, that you should barricade yourself
against me as if I was a wild beast or
Frenchman ? Open the door, or put out your
head, or do something ; or pon my soul I'll
break in the door ! '

It occurred to Anne at this point of the
tirade that the best policy would be to tem-
porise till somebody should return, and she
put out her head and face, now grown some-
what pale.

' That's better,' said Festus. ' Now I
can talk to you. Come, my dear, will you
open the door ? Why should you be afraid

of me ? '

' I am not altogether afraid of you ; I am

safe from the French here,' said Anne, not


very truthfully, and anxiously casting her
eyes over the vacant down.

* Then let me tell you that the alarm is
false, and that no landing has been attempted.
Now will you open the door and let me in ?
I am tired. I have been on horseback ever
since daylight, and have come to bring you
the good tidings.'

Anne looked as if she doubted the news.

* Come,' said Festus.

* No, I cannot let you in,' she murmured,
after a pause.

' Dash my wig, then,' he cried, his face
flaming up, ' I'll find a way to get in ! Now,
don't you provoke me ! You don't know
what I am capable of. I ask you again, will
you open the door ? '

* Why do you wish it ? ' she said, faintly.

* I have told you I want to sit down ; and
I want to ask you a question.'



* You can ask me from where you are.

* I cannot ask you properly. It is about
a serious matter : whether you will accept
my heart and hand. I am not going to
throw myself at your feet ; but I ask you to
do your duty as a woman, namely, give your
solemn word to take my name as soon as the
war is over and I have time to attend to you.
I scorn to ask it of a haughty hussy who will
only speak to me through a window ; how-
ever, I put it to you for the last time,

There was no sign on the down of any-

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