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body's return, and she said, ' I'll think of it,

* You have thought of it long enough ; I
want to know. Will you or won't you ? '

* Very well ; I think I will.' And then
she felt that she might be buying personal
safety too dearly by shuffling thus, since he


would Spread the report that she had accepted
him, and cause endless complication. ' No,'
she said, ' I have changed my mind. I can-
not accept you, Mr. Derriman.'

' That's how you play with me ! ' he
exclaimed, stamping. ' '' Yes," one moment ;
" No," the next. Come, you don't know
what you refuse. That old hall is my
uncle's own, and he has nobody else to leave
it to. As soon as he's dead I shall throw up
farming and start as a squire. And now,' he
added with a bitter sneer, ' what a fool you
are to hang back from such a chance ! '

* Thank you, I don't value it,' said Anne.

* Because you hate him who would make
it yours ? '

* It may not lie in your power to do that.'
*What — has the old fellow been telling

you his affairs ? '

R 2


* Then why do you mistrust me ? Now,
after this will you open the door, and show
that you treat me as a friend if you won't
accept me as a lover ? I only want to sit
and talk to you.'

Anne thought she would trust him : it
seemed almost impossible that he could harm
her. She retired from the window and went
downstairs. When her hand was upon the
bolt of the door her mind misgave her. In-
stead of withdrawing it she remained in
silence where she was, and he began again —

' Are you going to unfasten it ? '

Anne did not speak.

* Now, damn my wig, I will get at you !
You've tried me beyond endurance. One
kiss would have been enough that day in the
mead ; now I'll have forty, whether you will
or no ! '

He flung himself against the door ; but


as it was bolted, and had In addition a great
wooden bar across it, this produced no effect
He was silent for a moment, and then the
terrified girl heard him attempt the shuttered
window. She ran upstairs and again
scanned the down. The yellow gig still lay
in the blazing sunshine, and the horse of
Festus stood by the corner of the garden —
nothing else was to be seen. At this
moment there came to her ear the noise of a
sword drawn from its scabbard ; and, peeping
over the window-sill, she saw her tormentor
drive his sword between the joints of the
shutters, in an attempt to rip them open.
The sword snapped off In his hand. With
an imprecation he pulled out the piece, and
returned the two halves to the scabbard.

' Ha ha ! ' he cried, catching sight of the
top of her head. * 'TIs only a joke, you
know ; but I'll get In all the same. All for a


kiss ! But never mind, well do it yet ! ' He
spoke in an affectedly light tone, as if
ashamed of his previous resentful temper ;
but she could see by the livid back of his
neck that he was brimful of suppressed
passion. * Only a jest, you know,' he went
on. ' How are we going to do it now ? Why,
in this way. I go and get a ladder, and enter
at the upper window w^here my love is. And
there's the ladder lying under that corn-rick
in the first enclosed field. Back in two
minutes, dear ! '

He ran off, and was lost to her view.




Anne fearfully surveyed her position. The
upper windows of the cottage were of flim-
siest lead-work, and to keep him out would
be hopeless. She felt that not a moment
was to be lost In getting away. Running
downstairs she opened the door, and then it
occurred to her terrified understanding that
there would be no chance of escaping him by
flight afoot across such an extensive down,
since he might mount his horse and easily
ride after her. The animal still remained
tethered at the corner of the garden ; if she
could release him and frighten him away


before Festus returned, there would not be
quite such odds against her. She accordingly
unhooked the horse by reaching over the
bank, and then, pulling off her muslin necker-
chief, flapped it in his eyes to startle him.
But the gallant steed did not move or flinch ;
she tried again, and he seemed rather pleased
than otherwise. At this moment she heard
a cry from the cottage, and turning, beheld
her adversary approaching round the corner of
the building.

' I thought I should tole out the mouse by
that trick ! ' cried Festus, exultingly. Instead
of going for a ladder he had simply hidden
himself at the back to tempt her down.

Poor Anne was now desperate. The
bank on which she stood was level with
the horse's back, and the creature seemed
quiet as a lamb. With a determination of
which she was capable in emergencies, she


seized the rein, flung herself upon the sheep-
skin, and held on by the mane. The amazed
charger lifted his head, sniffed, wrenched his
ears hither and thither, and started off at a
frightful speed across the down.

* Oh, my heart and limbs ! ' said Festus
under his breath, as, thoroughly alarmed, he
gazed after her. ' She on Champion ! She'll
break her neck, and I shall be tried for man-
slaughter, and disgrace will be brought upon
the name of Derriman ! '

Champion continued to go at a stretch-
gallop, but he did nothing worse. Had he
plunged or reared, Derriman's fears might
have been verified, and Anne have come
with deadly force to the ground. But the
course was good, and in the horse's speed
lay a comparative security. She was scarcely
shaken in her precarious half-horizontal posi-
tion, though she was awed to see the grass,


loose stones, and other objects pass her eyes
Hke strokes whenever she opened them,
which was only just for a second at intervals
of half a minute ; and to feel how wildly the
stirrups swung, and that what struck her
knee was the bucket of the carbine, and that
it was a pistol-holster which hurt her arm.

They quickly cleared the down, and Anne
became conscious that the course of the horse
was homeward. As soon as the ground
began to rise towards the outer belt of upland
which lay between her and the coast, Cham
pion, now panting and reeking with moisture,
lessened his speed in sheer weariness, and
proceeded at a rapid jolting trot. Anne felt
that she could not hold on half so well ; the
gallop had been child's play compared with
this. They were in a lane, ascending to a
ridge, and she made up her mind for a fall.
Over the ridge rose an animated spot, higher


and higher ; it turned out to be the upper
part of a man, and the man to be a soldier.
Such was Anne's attitude that she only got
an occasional glimpse of him ; and, though
she feared that he might be a Frenchman,
she feared the horse more t?ian the enemy, as
she had feared Festus more than the horse.
Anne had energy enough left to cry ' Stop
him ; stop him ! ' as the soldier drew near.

He, astonished at the sight of a military
horse with a bundle of drapery thrown across
his back, had already placed himself in the
middle of the lane, and he now held out his
arms till his figure assumed the form of a
Latin cross planted in the roadway. Champion
drew near, swerved, and stood still almost
suddenly, a check sufficient to send Anne
slipping down his flank to the ground. The
timely friend stepped forward and helped her


to her feet, when she saw that he was John

* Are you hurt ? ' he said, hastily, having
turned quite pale at seeing her fall.

' Oh, no ; not a bit,' said Anne, gathering
herself up with forced briskness, to make
light of the misadventure.

' But how did you get in such a place ? '

' There, he's gone ! ' she exclaimed, in-
stead of replying, as Champion swept round
John Loveday and cantered off triumphantly
in the direction of Overcombe, a performance
which she followed with her eyes.

' But how did you come upon his back,
and whose horse is it ? '

' I will tell you.*

' Well ? '

* I — cannot tell you.'

John looked steadily at her, saying


' How did you come here ? ' she asked.
' Is It true that the French have not landed
at all ? '

' Quite true ; the alarm was groundless.
I'll tell you all about It.' You look very tired.
You had better sit down a few minutes.
Let us sit on this bank.'

He helped her to the slope indicated, and
continued, still as If his thoughts were more
occupied with the mystery of her recent
situation than with what he was saying:
' We arrived at Radlpole Barracks this morn-
ing, and are to lie there all the summer. I
could not write to tell father we were coming.
It was not because of any rumour of the
French, for we knew nothing of that till we
met the people on the road, and the colonel
said in a moment the news was false. Bona-
parte Is not even at Boulogne just now. I
was anxious to know how you had borne the


fright, so I hastened to Overcombe at once,
as soon as I could get out of barracks.'

Anne, who had not been at all responsive
to his discourse, now swayed heavily against
him, and looking quickly down he found that
she had silently fainted. To support her in
his arms was of course the impulse of a
moment. There was no water to be had,
and he could think of nothing else but to
hold her tenderly till she came round again.
Certainly he desired nothing more.

Again he asked himself, what did it all
mean ?

He waited, looking down upon her tired
eyelids, and at the row of lashes lying upon
each cheek, whose natural roundness showed
itself in singular perfection now that the
customary pink had given place to a pale

luminousness caught from the surrounding
atmosphere. The dumpy ringlets about her


forehead and behind her poll, which were
usually as tight as springs, had been partially
uncoiled by the wildness of her ride, and
hung in split locks over her forehead and
neck. John, who, during the long months
of his absence, had lived only to meet her
again, was in a state of ecstatic reverence,
and bending down he gently kissed her.

Anne was just becoming conscious.

'Oh, Mr. Derriman, never, never!' she
murmured, sweeping her face with her

* I thought he was at the bottom of it,'
said John.

Anne opened her eyes, and started back
from him. ' What is it ? ' she said wildly.

'You are ill, my dear Miss Garland,'
replied John in trembling anxiety, and taking
her hand.

* I am not ill, I am wearied out,' she said.


* Can't we walk on ? How far are we from
Overcombe ? '

* About a mile. But tell me, somebody
has been hurting you — frightening you. I
know who It was ; it was Derriman, and that
was his horse. Now do you tell me all.'

Anne reflected. ' Then If I tell you/
she said, ' will you discuss with me what I had
better do, and not for the present let my
mother and your father know ? I don't want
to alarm them, and I must not let my affairs
interrupt the business connection between
the mill and the hall that has gone on for so
many years.'

The trumpet-major promised, and Anne
told the adventure. His brow reddened as
she went on, and when she had done she
said, * Now you are angry. Don't do any-
thing dreadful, will you ? Remember that
this Festus will most likely succeed his uncle


at Overcombe, In spite of present appear-
ances, and if Bob succeeds at the mill there
should be no enmity between them.'

' That's true. I won't tell Bob. Leave
him to me. Where is Derriman now.^. On
his way home, I suppose. When I have seen
you into the house I will deal with him —
quite quietly, so that he shall say nothing
about it.'

'Yes, appeal to him, do! Perhaps he
will be better then.'

They walked on together, Loveday seem-
ing to experience much quiet bliss.

' I came to look for you,' he said, * because
of that dear, sweet letter you wrote.'

* Yes, I did write you a letter,' she ad-
mitted, with miscrivlncf, now beelnnincr to see
her mistake. * It was because I was sorrv I
had blamed you.'

' I am almost glad you did blame me/

VOL. ir. s


said John cheerfully, 'since, if you had not,
the letter would not have come. I have read
it fifty times a day.'

This put Anne into an unhappy mood,
and they proceeded without much further
talk till the mill chimneys were visible below
them. John then said that he would leave
her to go in by herself.

' Ah, you are going back to get into some
danger on my account ? '

' I can't get into much danger with
such a fellow as he, can I ?' said John, smil-


* Well, no,' she answered, wath a sudden
carelessness of tone. It w^as indispensable
that he should be undeceived, and to begin
the process by taking an affectedly light view
of his personal risks was perhaps as good a
way to do it as any. Where friendliness was
construed as love, an assumed indifference


was the necessary expression for friendli-

So she let him go ; and, bidding him

hasten back as soon as he could, went down
the hill, while John's feet retraced the upland.

The trumpet-major spent the whole after-
noon and evening In that long and difficult
search for Festus Derrlman. Crossing the
down at the end of the second hour he met
Molly and Mrs. Loveday. The gig had
been repaired, they had learnt the ground-
lessness of the alarm, and they w^ould have
been proceeding happily enough but for their
anxiety about Anne. John told them shortly
that she had got a lift home, and proceeded
on his way.

The worthy object of his search had In the

meantime been plodding homeward on foot,

sulky at the loss of his charger, encumbered

with his sword, belts, high boots, and uniform,

s 2


and In his own discomfiture careless whedier
Anne Garland's life had been endangered or

At length Derrlman reached a place
where the road ran between high banks, one
of which he mounted and paced along as a
change from the hard trackway. Ahead of
him he saw an old man sitting down, with
eyes fixed on the dust of the road, as If rest-
inor and medltatlno^ at one and the same time.
Being pretty sure that he recognised his
uncle In that venerable figure, Festus came
forward stealthily, till he was immediately
above the old man's back. The latter was
clothed In faded nankeen breeches, speckled
stockings, a drab hat, and a coat which had
once been light blue, but from exposure as a
scarecrow had assumed the complexion and
fibre of a dried pudding-cloth. The farmer
was, in fact, returning to the hall, which he


had left in the morning some time later than
*lils nephew, to seek an asylum In a hollow
tree about two miles off. The tree was so
situated as to command a view of the building,
and Uncle Benjy had managed to clamber
up inside this natural fortification high enough
to watch his residence throuo^h a hole in the
bark, till, gathering from the words of occa-
sional passers-by that the alarm was at least
premature, he had ventured into daylight


He was now engaged in abstractedly
traclnof a diacrram In the dust with his
walking-stick, and muttered words to himself
aloud. Presently he arose and went on his
way without turning round. Festus was
curious enough to descend and look at the
marks. They represented an oblong, with
two semi-diagonals, and a little square In the
middle. Upon tlic diagonals were the


figures 20 and 1 7, and on each side of the
parallelogram stood a letter signifying the
point of the compass.

' What crazy thing Is running In his head
now ? ' said Festus to himself, with super-
cilious pity, recollecting that the farmer had
been singing those very numbers earlier In
the mornlnof. Belnor able to make nothinc^ of
it, he lengthened his strides, and treading on
tiptoe overtook his relative, saluting him by
scratchinof his back like a hen. The startled
old farmer danced round like a top, and
gasping, said, as he perceived his nephew,
* What, Festy ! not thrown from your horse
and killed, then, after all ! '

' No, nunc. What made ye think that ? '

* Champion passed me about an hour ago,

when I was In hiding — poor timid soul of me,

for I had nothing to lose by the French

comlnof — and he looked awful with the


Stirrups dangling and the saddle empty.
'Tis a gloomy sight, Festy, to see a horse
cantering without a rider, and I thought you
had been — feared you had been thrown off
and killed as dead as a nit;

' Bless your dear old heart for being so
anxious ! And what pretty picture were
you drawing just now with your walking-
stick ? '

* Oh, that ! That Is only a way I have of
amusIncT myself It showed how the French
might have advanced to the attack, 3'ou know.
Such trifles fill the head of a weak old man
like me.'

* Or the place where something is hid
away — money, for instance ? '

' Festy,' said the farmer reproachfully,
* you always know I use the old glove In the
bedroom cupboard for any guinea or two I


' Of course I do/ said Festus Ironically.

They had now reached a lonely Inn about
a mile and a half from the hall, and, the
farmer not responding- to his nephew's kind
Invitation to come In and treat him, Festus
entered alone. He was dusty, draggled, and
weary, and he remained at the tavern long.
The trumpet-major, In the meantime, having
searched the roads In vain, heard In the
course of the evenlnof of the veoman's arrival
at this place, and that he would probably be
found there still. He accordingly approached
the door, reaching It just as the dusk of
evenlnof chanc^ed to darkness.

There was no light in the passage, but
John pushed on at hazard, inquired for Derri-
man, and was told that he would be found In
the back parlour alone. When Loveday
first entered the apartment he was unable to
see anything, but following the guidance of a


vigorous snoring, he came to the settle, upon
which Festus lay asleep, his position being
faintly signified by the shine of his buttons
and other parts of his uniform. John laid
his hand upon the reclining figure and shook
him, and by degrees Derriman stopped his
snore and sat up.

'Who are you ?' he said, in the accents
of a man who has been drinkinor hard. ' Is
it you, dear Anne ? Let me kiss you ; yes,
I will.'

' Shut your mouth, you pitiful blockhead ;
I'll teach you genteeler manners than to per-
secute a young woman in that way ! ' and
taking Festus by the ear, he gave it a good
pull. Festus broke out with an oath, and
struck a vague blow in the air with his fist ;
whereupon the trumpet-major dealt him a
box on the right ear, and a similar one on the
left to artistically balance the first. Festus


jumped up and used his fists wildly, but
without any definite result.

'Want to fight, do ye, eh?' said John.
* Nonsense ! you can't fight, you great baby,
and never could. You are only fit to be
smacked 1 ' and he dealt Festus a specimen
of the same on the cheek with the palm of
his hand.

* No, sir, no ! Oh, you are Loveday, the
young man she's going to be married to, I
suppose ? Dash me, I didn't want to hurt
her, sir.'

* Yes, my name Is Loveday ; and you'll
know where to find me, since we can't finish
this to-night. Pistols or swords, whichever
you like, my boy. Take that, and that, so
that you may not forget to call upon me ! '
and again he smacked the yeoman's ears
and cheeks. ' Do you know what it is
for, eh ? '


* No, Mr. Loveday, sir — yes, I mean,
I do.'

' What Is It for, then ? I shall keep
smacking until you tell me. Gad ! If you
weren't drunk, I'd half kill you here to-

* It Is because I served her badly. D d

If I care ! I'll do It again, and be hanged to
ye. Where's my horse Champion ? Tell
me that,' and he hit at the trumpet-major.

John parried this attack, and taking him
firmly by the collar, pushed him down Into
the seat, saying, ' Here I hold ^-e till you
beg pardon for your doings to-day. Do you
want any more of It, do you ? ' And he
shook the yeoman to a sort of jelly.

' I do beg pardon — no, I don't. I say
this, that you shall not take such liberties
with old Squire Derrlman's nephew, you dirty
miller's son, you Hour worm, you smut in the


corn ! I'll call you out to-morrow morning,
and have my revenge.'

* Of course you will ; that's what I came
for/ And pushing him back Into the corner
of the settle, Loveday went out of the house,
feeling considerable satisfaction at having got
himself Into the beginning of as nice a quarrel
about Anne Garland as the most jealous lover
could desire.

But of one feature In this curious adven-
ture he had not the least notion — that Festus
Derrlman, misled by the darkness, the fumes
of his potations, and the constant sight of
Anne and Bob together, never once supposed
his assailant to be any other man than Bob,
believing the trumpet-major miles away.

There was a moon during the early part
of John's walk home, but when he had
arrived within a mile of Overcombe the sky
clouded over, and rain suddenly began to fall


with some violence. Near him was a wooden
granary on tall stone staddles, and perceiving
that the rain was onlv a thunderstorm which
would soon pass away, he ascended the steps
and entered the doorwav, where he stood
watching the half-obscured moon throusfh the
streaming rain. Presently, to his surprise,
he beheld a female figure running forward
with great rapidity, not towards the granary
for shelter, but towards open ground. What
could she be running for in that direction ?
The answer came In the appearance of his
brother Bob from that quarter, seated on the
back of his fathers heavy horse. As soon
as the woman met him, Bob dismounted and
caught her in his arms. They stood locked
together, the rain beating into their uncon-
scious forms, and the horse looking on.

The trumpet-major fell back inside the
granary, and threw himself on a heap of


empty sacks which lay in the corner : he had
recognised the woman to be Anne. Here
he recHned in a stupor till he was aroused by
the sound of voices under him, the voices of
Anne and his brother, who, having at last
discovered that they were getting wet, had
taken shelter under the granary floor.

' I have been home,' said she. * Mother
and Molly have both got back long ago. We
were all anxious about you, and I came out
to look for you. Oh, Bob, I am so glad to
see you again ! '

John might have heard every word of the
conversation, which was continued in the
same strain for a long time ; but he stopped
his ears, and would not. Still they remained,
and still was he determined that they should
not see him. With the conserved hope of
more than half a year dashed away in a
moment, he could yet feel that the cruelty of


a protest would be even greater than Its
Inutility. It was absolutely by his own con-
trivance that the situation had been shaped.
Bob, left to himself, would long ere this have
been the husband of another woman.

The rain decreased, and the lovers went
on. John looked after them as they strolled,
aqua-tinted by the weak moon and mist.
Bob had thrust one of his arms through the
rein of the horse, and the other was round
Anne's waist. When they were lost behind
the declivity the trumpet-major came out,
and walked homeward even more slowly than
they. As he went on, his face put off Its
complexion of despair for one of serene
resolve. For the first time In his dealings
with friends he entered upon a course of
counterfeiting, set his features to conceal his
thought, and Instructed his tongue to do
likewise. He threw fictitiousness Into his


very gait, even now, when there was nobody
to see him, and struck at stems of wild
parsley with his regimental switch as he
had used to do when soldiering was new to
him, and life In general a charming experi-

Thus cloaking his sickly thought, he de-
scended to the mill as the others had done
before him, occasionally looking down upon
the wet road to notice how close Anne's little
tracks were to Bob's all the way along, and
how precisely a curve in his course was
followed by a curve in hers. But after this
he erected his head and walked so smartly

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