SCENE v PART FIRST
OLD MAN (lowering his pike)
A form o words, Mis'ess Cantle, no more; ordained by his Majesty's Government to be spoke by all we on sworn duty for the defence o' the country. Strict rank-and-file rules is our only horn of salvation in these times-—But, my dear woman, why ever have ye come Jumpering up to Rainbarrows at this time o' night?
We've been troubled with bad dreams, owing to the firing out at sea yesterday; and at last I could sleep no more, feeling sure that sommat boded of His coming. And I said to Cantle, I'll ray myself, and go up to Beacon, and ask if anything have been heard or seen to-night. And here we be.
Not a sign or sound—all's as still as a churchyard. And how is your good man ?
Clk! I be all right! I was in the ranks, helping to keep the ground at the review by the King this week. We was a wonderful sight—wonderful! The King said so again and again.—Yes, there was he, and there was I, though not daring to move a' eyebrow in the presence of Majesty. I havfe come home on a night's leave—off there again to-morrow. Boney's expected every day, the Lord be praised 1 Yes, our hopes are to be fulfilled soon, as we say in the army.
There, there, Cantle ; don't ye speak quite so large, and stand so ovor-upright. Your back is as holler as a fire-dog's." Do ye suppose that we on active service here don't know war news? Mind you don't go