- Software name: appdown
- Software type: Microsoft Framwork
- size: 734MB
MRS. B.: Yes, dear, but what at? What do they do?
Robert was first of all part of a cluster which included young Coalbran from Doozes, Tom Sheane from Dinglesden, the two Morfees from Edzell, Emily Ditch, and Bessie Lamb from Eggs Hole. Then in time the company reduced itself to Robert, Emily, and Bessieand one wonderful night he found himself with Bessie alone. How they had chosen each other he could not say. All he knew was that for sometime she had become woven with the music into his thoughts. She[Pg 142] was a poor labourer's daughter, living in a crumbled, rickety cottage on Eggs Hole Farm, helping her mother look after eight young children. She was only seventeen herself, sturdy yet soft, with a mass of hay-coloured hair, and rather a broad face with wistful eyes. Robert thought she was beautifulbut Robert thought that old Spodgram's playing and the choir's singing were beautiful.
Old Mrs. Backfield was getting very decrepit. She could not walk without a stick, and her knotted hands were of little use either in the kitchen or the dairy. Reuben was anxious to avoid engaging anyone to help her, yet the developments of her sphere made such help most necessary. Odiam now supplied most of the neighbouring gentry with milk, butter, and eggs; the poultry-yard had grown enormously since it had been a mere by-way of Mrs. Backfield's labours, and she and the girls also had charge of the young calves and pigs, which needed constant attention, and meant a great deal of hard work. Besides this, there was all the housework to do, sweeping, dusting, cooking, baking, and mending and washing for the males.
"How do you know there are any Yankees out there? I don't believe they have advanced beyond the crest of the hill. I think they are all going down toward Resaca. Haven't you any pickets out there?""We've bin runnin' through this deep cut," he explained, "and jest come out onto the approach to the bridge, when we see a little fire away ahead, and the head-light showed some men runnin' down on to the bank on the other side o' the crick. We see in a moment what was up. They've jest got to the road and started a fire on the bridge that's about a mile ahead. Their game was to burn that bridge, and when this train stopped, burn this one behind us, ketch us, whip us, and take the train. We shot at the men we see on the bank, but probably didn't do 'em no harm. They're all pilin' down now to the other bank to whip us out and git the train. You'd better deploy the boys along the top o' the bank here and open on 'em. We can't save that bridge, but we kin this and the train, by keepin' 'em on the other side o' the crick. I'll take charge o' the p'int here with two or three boys, and drive off any o' them that tries to set fire to the bridge, and you kin look out for the rest o' the line. It's goin' to be longtaw work, for you see the crick's purty wide, but our guns 'll carry further'n theirs, and if we keep the boys well in hand I think we kin stand 'em off without much trouble."
"Boys," said Shorty, leaning on his musket, and speaking with the utmost gravity, "this's a great military dooty and must be performed without fear, favor nor affection. I'd like to have you all in Co. Q, but this's a thing 'bout which I hain't got no say. There's a great many things in the army 'bout which a Corpril hain't as much inflooence as he orter have, as you'll find out later on. Here comes the Captain o' Co. Q, who, because o' his rank, has the first pick o' the recruits. He's never seen you before, and don't know one o' you from Adam's off-ox. He has his own ideas as to who he wants in the company, and what he says goes. It may be that the color o' your hair'll decide him, mebbe the look in your eyes, mebbe the shape o' your noses. 'Tention! Right dress! Front! Saloot!"murmured Monty Scruggs. "I didn't suppose there was as many soldiers in all the world before."