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He signifies a man limping past with neither firelock nor knapsack. Where the discarded knapsack has rubbed for weeks against his shoulder-blades the jacket and shirt are fretted away, leaving his skin exposed
SECOND DESERTER (drowsily)
He may be the Eighty-firsht, or th' Eighty-second ; but what I say is, without fear of contradiction, I wish to the Lord I was back in old Bristol again. I'd sooner have a nipperkin of our own real " Bristol milk " than a mash-tub full of this barbarian wine!
'Tis like thee to be ungrateful, after putting away such a skinful on't. I am as much Bristol as thee, but would as soon be here as there. There ain't near such willing women, that are strict respectable too, there as hereabout, and no open cellars.—As there's many a slip in this country ill have the rest of my allowance now.
He crawls on his elbows to one of the barrels, and turning on his back lets the wine run down his throat.
FOURTH DESERTER (to a fifth, who is snoring)
Don't treat us to such a snoaching there, mate. Here's some more coming, and they'll sight us if we don't mind!
Enter without a straggling flock of military objects, some with fragments of shoes on, others bare-footed, many of the latter's feet bleeding. The arms and waists of some are clutched by women as tattered and bare-footed as themselves. They pass on.
The Retreat continues. More of ROMANA'S Spanish limp along in disorder; then enters a miscellaneous group of English cavalry soldiers, some on foot, some mounted, the rearmost of the latter bestriding a shoeless foundered creature whose neck is vertebrae and mane only. While passing it falls from exhaustion; the trooper extricates himself and pistols the animal through the head, He and the rest pass on.